After axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), patients are cautioned against ipsilateral interventional procedures to avoid the theoretical increased risk of postoperative complications, particularly lymphedema. The authors’ goal was to evaluate the complications of elective hand surgery after ALND. The authors reviewed patients presenting to their hand clinic from 1998 to 2011, selecting those with a diagnosis of breast cancer or melanoma and a history of previous ALND; the authors excluded those treated nonoperatively and those treated with elective surgery in the contralateral hand. Average age of the 22 patients meeting the criteria (20 with a history of breast cancer, 6 with preexisting lymphedema) was 53.9 years (range, 26.7 to 73.6 years) at the time of ALND and 63.1 years (range, 31.7 to 83.5 years) at the time of hand surgery.
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