Impact of preservation of the intercostobrachial nerve during axillary dissection on sensory change and health-related quality of life 2 years after breast cancer surgery

Naruto Taira, Kojiro Shimozuma, Shozo Ohsumi, Katsumasa Kuroi, Takeru Shiroiwa, Takanori Watanabe, Mitsue Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Sensory loss or paresthesia due to division of the intercostobrachial nerve (ICBN) is a complication of axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). Preservation of the ICBN may be of value, but few prospective studies have shown an impact of preservation on sensory changes or health-related quality of life (HRQOL) after breast cancer surgery. Methods: This prospective study was performed to evaluate the association between ICBN preservation and sensory change and HRQOL at 1 (baseline), 6, 12, and 24 months after breast cancer surgery in 140 patients. The sensory examination included dysesthesia, paresthesia, and abnormal touch and pain sensation in the upper arm. Results: Division of the ICBN did not influence the frequency or severity of subjective dysesthesia and paresthesia. There was no marked difference in touch or pain sensation at baseline between patients with a preserved (group P) and divided (group D) ICBN. In group P, the percentage of patients aware of a sensory deficit or loss decreased with time, and that of patients aware of a hypersensitive sensation increased. These changes did not occur in group D, leading to a significant difference between the groups at 24 months. The main difference between the groups was the area with reduced touch or pain sensation. This area decreased with time in group P, but not in group D. ICBN preservation or division did not influence HRQOL. Conclusion: ICBN preservation in ALND has a benefit of a reduced area with long-term axillary hypoesthesia, but has no influence on improvement of pain and HRQOL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Axillary dissection
  • Breast cancer
  • HRQOL
  • Intercostobrachial nerve
  • Neurological change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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