Ultrasonography of arm edema after axillary dissection for breast cancer: A preliminary study

A. Balzarini, M. Milella, E. Civelli, C. Sigari, F. De Conno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work examined whether ultrasonography (US) provides detailed information about physical characteristics of lymphedema and whether there is agreement between imaging and clinical data. The study population included 46 women with chronic arm edema after axillary dissection for breast cancer. US showed in each patient an increase of subcutaneous tissue thickness compared with the contralateral arm. Fluid accumulation was seen in 16 patients (34.7%), fibrosis in 12 (26.0%), and a mixed picture (fibrosis and fiuid) in 18 (39.1%). Correlation with clinical information ("soft," "medium," "hard," and "pitting" edema) demonstrated that US documented interstitial fluid in 68.4% of soft edema, mixed fluid and fibrosis in 64.2% of medium edema, and fibrosis in 76.9% of hard edema. Ultrasonography also showed that in soft and medium edema, fibrosis may already have formed. US is useful to follow progression, composition, and management of arm lymphedema after axillary dissection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-155
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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