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Lymphoedema of the upper limb: a rare complication of thyroid surgery?


A 40-year-old woman underwent an elective thyroidectomy for a non-toxic, multinodular goitre. In the early postoperative period, the patient developed a significant unilateral swelling of the right upper limb, which was subsequently confirmed to be lymphoedema. This was eventually treated successfully using liposuction and compression garment therapies. We report the case due to its rarity and present a possible explanation for such an unexpected complication based on known anatomical variations of lymphatic drainage of the upper limb.

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