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November 18, 1974

Venipuncture on the Mastectomy Side

Author Affiliations

Lenox Hill Hospital New York

JAMA. 1974;230(7):961. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240070013006

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To the Editor.—  Against the wellmeant advice to patients who have had mastectomies never to allow venipunctures on the same side as the mastectomy, I wish to raise a strong voice of dissent.In 25 years, I have performed innumerable venipunctures on the "proscribed" side (whenever there was no evidence of severe venous obstruction), without encountering a single bad result that would not have occurred elsewhere. In other words, I have never observed contraindication to use of the "mastectomy side" for venipunctures except when there was marked stasis due to venous obstruction, or when the arm was so swollen it was not possible to find a vein.The medical oncologist frequently encounters patients who have had mastectomies and have no usable veins left on the "allowed" side. I have discussed this problem with a number of my colleagues in the same specialty, and find that I do not stand alone.