Sweat Glands After Lymph Node Removal, How Do They Change?

In this video Dr. Jay K. Harness describes the change sweat glands experience after lymph node removal and if patients that have their lymph nodes removed need to use deodorant.


Jay K. Harness, MD: I am frequently asked questions about after sentinel lymph node biopsy or actual lymph node dissections or multiple lymph nodes are removed, about the use of underarm deodorant. In other words, “Gee, are my sweat glands still working? When can I start doing that? I mean this is kind of potentially a gross part of my body and what do I do, Dr. Harness?”

Well, a couple of things: First of all you want to let the area heal well, and particularly after removing a lot of lymph nodes, most of us have drains coming out so you really want to let that area well healed. And so certainly, for the first several weeks, after you have done a sentinel node biopsy or a lymph node dissection, just frequent bathing will keep the area nice and clean.

Secondly, the whole issue of sweat glands. Well, sweat glands are not in the lymph nodes. Sweat glands are around the hair follicles and elsewhere within your armpit area, and the sweat glands are in the skin and extend out into the subcutaneous fat of the skin in the armpit area. And so yes, you do want to use deodorants and again what you want to do is to allow yourself to heal up well.

One of the questions we have received at BreastCancerAnswers.com has to do with ‘does the use of deodorants cause breast cancer?’ I am going to deal with that in a subsequent video. Hopefully we will produce that relatively soon.

The bottom line answer is ‘no, there is no direct evidence that deodorants cause breast cancer’ and certainly we want to maintain good hygiene, we want to feel good about ourselves, we want to smell good, we want to get back to normal life as fast as we can.

So please just follow the suggestions I have given you about the care of this area and don’t worry about using deodorants after axillary lymph node surgery.

Dr. Jay K. Harness is a board certified surgeon currently treating patients at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Harness specializes in complete breast health, breast cancer surgery, oncoplastic reconstruction, genetic screening, management of breast health issues, risk assessment and counseling. Dr. Harness is the medical director for Breast Cancer Answers.com, and guides this first ever social media show’s information by drawing on his former leadership experience as the President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1969 and spent time early on in his career at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk.  If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.