19 doctors weighed in:

I had lymph nodes taken out after I had breast cancer in my left breast. Why can't my blood pressure be taken on that side?

19 doctors weighed in
Dr. Devon Webster
Internal Medicine - Oncology
8 doctors agree

In brief: Good question!

The theory is you could cause lymphedema by squeezing the lymph channels with a blood pressure cuff.
However, there has never been a study to actually see if this happens, and i think it's more myth than fact. I tell patients with bilateral mastectomies it's ok to have their blood pressure taken, and no one has ever developed lymphedema from it. If you already have lymphedema, i would avoid.

In brief: Good question!

The theory is you could cause lymphedema by squeezing the lymph channels with a blood pressure cuff.
However, there has never been a study to actually see if this happens, and i think it's more myth than fact. I tell patients with bilateral mastectomies it's ok to have their blood pressure taken, and no one has ever developed lymphedema from it. If you already have lymphedema, i would avoid.
Dr. Devon Webster
Dr. Devon Webster
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Dr. Francine Yep
Family Medicine
5 doctors agree

In brief: Prevent arm swelling

Sometimes after surgery, it's harder for lymph fluid to drain out of your arm. If the fluid builds up, your arm swells ["lymphedema"].
Measuring blood pressure on your right arm can help prevent this swelling. Here's to your healing! other ways to prevent lymphedema can be found here: http://www.Breastcancer.Org/treatment/side_effects/lymphedema.Jsp.

In brief: Prevent arm swelling

Sometimes after surgery, it's harder for lymph fluid to drain out of your arm. If the fluid builds up, your arm swells ["lymphedema"].
Measuring blood pressure on your right arm can help prevent this swelling. Here's to your healing! other ways to prevent lymphedema can be found here: http://www.Breastcancer.Org/treatment/side_effects/lymphedema.Jsp.
Dr. Francine Yep
Dr. Francine Yep
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2 comments
Dr. Greg Pahnke
as above but reverse logic, we prefer not to take your blood pressure from your LEFT arm the automatic BP machines often start at 300 mg Hg which can further damage remaining open lymphatic tracts but allot depends on how many LN's removed 2 to 3 for sentinel node or full dissection. Same goes for blood drawing that may introduce infection - also would worsen edema or cellulitis
Dr. Sean Canale
Breast Surgery
4 doctors agree

In brief: Lymphedema risk

The risk of clinically significant lymphedema after full axillary node dissection is 20-25%.
With the more common sentinel node biopsy procedure, less surgery and fewer nodes removed = significantly less risk but not 0.Nodal surgery and scarring may affect lymph channels draining fluid from the arm.The BP cuff increases pressure in the lymph channels causing stress to the system increasing le risk.

In brief: Lymphedema risk

The risk of clinically significant lymphedema after full axillary node dissection is 20-25%.
With the more common sentinel node biopsy procedure, less surgery and fewer nodes removed = significantly less risk but not 0.Nodal surgery and scarring may affect lymph channels draining fluid from the arm.The BP cuff increases pressure in the lymph channels causing stress to the system increasing le risk.
Dr. Sean Canale
Dr. Sean Canale
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1 comment
Dr. Barry Rosen
Whole breast radiation will overlap the armpit area (especially for tumors in the upper, outer aspect of the breast), further increasing the risk of lymphedema.
Dr. Reza Shirazi
Radiation Oncology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Lymphedema

You are at increased chance of developing lymphedema ( arm swelling since your lymphatics are not draining well).
Taking blood pressure increases the pressure in adjacent vessels that can cause fluid built up in tissue. Take good care of your skin to avoid infections. Avoid getting IV or injections in that arm as well.

In brief: Lymphedema

You are at increased chance of developing lymphedema ( arm swelling since your lymphatics are not draining well).
Taking blood pressure increases the pressure in adjacent vessels that can cause fluid built up in tissue. Take good care of your skin to avoid infections. Avoid getting IV or injections in that arm as well.
Dr. Reza Shirazi
Dr. Reza Shirazi
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Dr. Ralph Harvey
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: Avoid lymphedema

Image the lymph system as a lacy network of canals that help drain fluid out of the arm. Lymph node biopsy interferes with the drainage system. Anything that causes swelling in your arm, including 'back pressure' of a blood pressure cuff can cause swelling in the lymph system in the armpit- and increase chance of chronic-permanent swelling in entire arm. Doesn't always happen, but it is possible.

In brief: Avoid lymphedema

Image the lymph system as a lacy network of canals that help drain fluid out of the arm. Lymph node biopsy interferes with the drainage system. Anything that causes swelling in your arm, including 'back pressure' of a blood pressure cuff can cause swelling in the lymph system in the armpit- and increase chance of chronic-permanent swelling in entire arm. Doesn't always happen, but it is possible.
Dr. Ralph Harvey
Dr. Ralph Harvey
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Dr. Isaak Halegoua
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Because of possible

Because of possibly accentuating lymphedema.

In brief: Because of possible

Because of possibly accentuating lymphedema.
Dr. Isaak Halegoua
Dr. Isaak Halegoua
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