Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy – What to Expect



Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy pic
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos serves as a surgeon at Heywood Hospital in Massachusetts. With more than two decades of medical experience, Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos performs procedures such as breast cancer surgeries, and sentinel lymph node biopsies (SLNBs).

In most situations, an SLNB is performed to determine whether melanoma or breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. However, the procedure is also used in patients with cancers of the stomach, thyroid, colon, esophageal, lungs, head, and neck. The sentinel lymph nodes are the first lymph nodes to which cancer cells spread.

In preparation for an SLNB, physicians inject a weak radioactive solution near the tumor a few hours before the procedure. The lymph nodes absorb the radioactive solution, which allows it to be tracked by physicians to the sentinel nodes.

Physicians may otherwise opt to inject a blue dye instead of the radioactive solution. The dye functions in the same way as the radioactive solution but stains the sentinel nodes blue.

After the sentinel nodes are identified, surgeons make a small cut over the lymph node. A sentinel node is then removed through the incision and examined for cancer cells by a pathologist.