What you seem to be describing is a lymphocele, a collection of lymphatic fluid collecting in a pool, and able to be removed by draining with a syringe. This is not lymphedema, although it is a risk factor for eventual development of lymphedema.
You are quite right! In talking with my surgeon in Hawaii again, she described it as a sort of pre-lymphedema. Thanks for the clarification. It was the "surprise" element of this experience that caught my attention. Wish I had been better prepared (and that responsibility was all mine)
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