Swelling which can develop in the arm on the side of the surgery can develop when the normal flow of lymph fluid is reduced. This can happen when lymph nodes are surgically removed, or if the area under the arm is treated with radiation therapy. It can be an ongoing problem after surgery. To reduce the potential for problems associated with lymphedema, you can follow these recommendations:
Protect your arm and hand from infection, washing them often.
Avoid wearing anything binding on the arm that is on the side of your surgery. This includes not wearing tight sleeves, elastic cuffs, or jewelry, including bracelets or wristwatches on that arm.
Do not allow blood-pressure readings to be done on the affected arm if possible.
Regularly squeeze a rubber ball which will help improve circulation in that arm and prevent swelling.
At any time after your surgery, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, please call your doctor right away:
Fever of 100.4°F / 38.0°C or greater, with / without chills
Increase in pain, redness warmth, swelling, drainage, or bleeding at the site of the incision or drains
Swelling in the arm on the side of your surgery that gets worse instead of better
Cough that produces yellow, green, brown, or red sputum
Dizziness, light-headedness, exhaustion, or extreme weakness
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, or uncontrolled diarrhea
Urination that is frequent, urgent, or painful / Low back pain