Q: I am monitoring my blood pressure at home. Is it true that the arm on a mastectomy side should not be used? And if so why?
A: Chronic arm swelling known as lymphedema can be a side effect from a mastectomy. If this occurs, it is best not to take blood pressure on the effected arm to avoid putting more pressure on the vessels in the arm. With less radical breast surgery and/or a sentinel node biopsy instead of removal all of the lymph nodes under the arm, lymphedema is less likely to happen. When lymphedema is not a concern, blood pressure can be taken on the arm on the same side as the surgery.