Axillary web syndrome following breast cancer surgery

Symptoms, complications, and management strategies

L. A. Koehler, Tufia C Haddad, D. W. Hunter, T. M. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Axillary web syndrome (AWS) is a common condition occurring in up to 86% of patients following breast cancer surgery with ipsilateral lymphadenectomy of one or more nodes. AWS presents as a single cord or multiple thin cords in the subcutaneous tissues of the ipsilateral axilla. The cords may extend variable distances “down” the ipsilateral arm and/or chest wall. The cords frequently result in painful shoulder abduction and limited shoulder range of motion. AWS most frequently becomes symptomatic between 2 and 8 weeks postoperatively but can also develop and recur months to years after surgery. Education about and increased awareness of AWS should be promoted for patients and caregivers. Assessments for AWS should be performed on a regular basis following breast cancer surgery especially if there has been associated lymphadenectomy. Physical therapy, which consists of manual therapy, exercise, education, and other rehabilitation modalities to improve range of motion and decrease pain, is recommended in the treatment of AWS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer: Targets and Therapy
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Breast Neoplasms
Articular Range of Motion
Lymph Node Excision
Musculoskeletal Manipulations
Education
Axilla
Subcutaneous Tissue
Thoracic Wall
Caregivers
Arm
Rehabilitation
Exercise
Pain
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Axillary lymphadenectomy
  • Cording
  • Mondor’s disease
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

Cite this

Axillary web syndrome following breast cancer surgery : Symptoms, complications, and management strategies. / Koehler, L. A.; Haddad, Tufia C; Hunter, D. W.; Tuttle, T. M.

In: Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy, Vol. 11, 01.01.2019, p. 13-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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