The authors present a study of 242 patients with breast cancer who were submitted to an axillary radical lymph node dissection between July 1977 and December 1978. The operative indication and the histological results are noted. The operative technique, the postoperative status, complications and the later evolution are extensively described. The axillary lymph node dissection has a prognostic value. A careful operative and postoperative treatment is necessary in obtaining good results, good functional recuperation, and to avoid lymphoedema.