Axillary web syndrome

Last revised by Mohammed Morsi on 31 Aug 2023

Axillary web syndrome is a commonly occurring condition secondary to breast cancer surgery involving lymphadenectomy 1. It is characterized by the presence of one or multiple thin cords in the subcutaneous tissues of the axilla, which extends down the arm and/or chest wall 1,2. This can lead to discomfort during shoulder movement and restricted range of motion 3.

Axillary web syndrome is a self-limiting condition. Its pathophysiology is not fully understood, but the most common cause is believed to be lymphatic injury resulting from surgery 2,4.

Diagnosis of this condition is typically made through clinical assessment, where a physical examination reveals the presence of palpable cord-like structures. These are commonly observed several days to weeks following surgery, although they can manifest at a later stage as well 1,2,4.

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