Some possible side effects following the removal of lymph nodes include the build up of fluid at the site of surgery and infection, according to WebMD. Swelling of the limbs, numbness and breakdown of the skin may also occur.
Most people get lymph node surgery and removal in order to see if there is a spreading of cancer throughout the body, explains WebMD. Some of these lymph nodes are near the surface of the body, but others are deeper into the abdomen or around organs such as the liver or heart. The main reason for this type of surgery is to remove the cancer that has made its way into the lymph nodes and to prevent it from spreading into other areas of the body.
In most cases, patients go under general anesthesia for lymph node removal surgery, states WebMD. An incision goes into the skin over the cancerous lymph nodes. The type of incision and depth depends on a number of factors including the location of the lymph nodes. In addition to removing the lymph nodes, other tissue comes out, too. Recovery following the surgery depends on the site and extent of the surgery. This type of surgery may cure some types of melanoma, but only the types that spread to lymph nodes are treatable in this way.