Résumé : Postmastectomy edema is a current complication after axillary lymph node dissection in cases of breast cancer treatment. Staging is important in order to select those patients who can benefit from complex physical therapy (CPT). Different imaging techniques can be used to evaluate the edema. Ultrasonography (US) is a harmless, cheap, and easily applicable technique to visualize the dermal and subcutaneous tissue, but interpretation of the obtained images is not always evident. The aim of this study was to compare ultrasound images of irreversible edema with tissue histology, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Ultrasonographic images of the edematous dermis show an homogeneous hypoechogenic dermal layer that appears on tissue histology to be less compact, due to the excess of fluid in the interstitium separating the collagen fibres and making it more transparent on light microscopy. MRI of the dermis gives a hyperintense signal, indicating the presence of fluid. In the subcutis, increase of the adipose tissue could be observed on US, MRI, and tissue histology. In the case of lymphedema, the area and perimeter of fat cells is significantly (p < 0.05) increased. Hypoechogenic areas near the muscle fascia are registrated on US corresponding with epifascial fluid on MRI, and hyperechogenic branches are embedded within the adipose tissue, on tissue histology seen as large fibrotic septa enclosing adipose cells. MRI has a honeycomb picture corresponding with fluid bound to fibrosis. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.