Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Surg. 1998 Oct;85(10):1443-5.

Prospective randomized controlled trial of preservation of the intercostobrachial nerve during axillary node clearance for breast cancer.

Author information

Academic Breast Unit, University Hospital of South Manchester, West Didsbury, UK.



Complications of axillary surgery occur due to severance of the intercostobrachial nerve (ICBN). The feasibility and benefit of preserving the ICBN to prevent sensory loss was studied prospectively.


Sensory symptoms and deficits were documented, and shoulder movement and arm circumference were measured at discharge and 3 months later in 120 patients randomized to either preservation or division of the ICBN.


Preserving the ICBN was feasible in 39 (65 per cent) of the 60 patients randomized to the preservation group. Preserving the nerve prolonged the procedure by a median of 5 min. No difference in sensory symptoms between the groups was seen at 3 months. At 3 months 53 per cent of patients randomized to ICBN preservation had a sensory deficit compared with 84 per cent of those randomized to ICBN sacrifice (P < or = 0.05).


Preserving the ICBN reduces the incidence of sensory deficit (but not symptoms) in patients after axillary clearance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center