Post Mastectomy Arm Swelling Anatomy
To better understand post mastectomy arm swelling, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is complex collection of vessels that carry lymph. Most of the lymph that drains from the arm must travel through the lymph vessels and lymph nodes within the armpit (axilla).
The lymphatic system performs two major functions:
- Stores and transports cells that fight infection
- Removes excess fluid from body tissues
The lymphatic system consists of:
- Lymph vessels: thin vessels that drain excess fluid from the tissue and transport it to lymph glands
- Lymph glands: also called lymph nodes, the lymph glands filter the excess fluid and store cells that fight infection
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