Sentinel Node Biopsy

Overview

Definition

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is to remove and test lymph nodes where cancer would spread first. Lymph nodes are pea-sized glands throughout the body. They help fight infection.

Lymph Node Biopsy
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Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby structures
  • Lymphedema
  • Allergy to the dye

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Recent illness or long term diseases such as diabetes or obesity
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Treatments

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org 

National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca 

Health Canada https://www.canada.ca 

References

Qiu SQ, Zhang GJ, et al. Evolution in sentinel lymph node biopsy in breast cancer. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2018;123:83-94.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/evaluation/sentinel-lymph-node-biopsy-for-breast-cancer. Accessed September 23, 2021.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy: questions and answers. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/diagnosis-staging/staging/sentinel-node-biopsy-fact-sheet. Accessed September 23, 2021.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy. Yale Medicine website. Available at: https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/sentinel-lymph-node-biopsy. Accessed September 23, 2021.