Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
How It Is Done
You will need to take off clothing near the biopsy site. You will wear a gown for a covering during the test.
If you are very anxious about the biopsy, you may be given a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.
Before a sentinel node biopsy is done, the dye or tracer is injected into the area, and a special camera (lymphoscintigraphy) takes pictures of the lymph nodes. Some doctors use pain medicine with the dye to reduce discomfort. The dye may turn your skin blue for a few days after the biopsy.
The first lymph node or nodes to absorb the tracer are called the sentinel nodes. This node or nodes and the tissue around them are taken out. You may have a numbing medicine (Reference local anesthesia Opens New Window) or go to sleep for the biopsy. The lymph node sample is cut into many thin slices and looked at under a microscope for cancer. You will have some stitches and a bandage over the biopsy site.
A sentinel lymph node biopsy usually takes 30 to 60 minutes but may take longer. If you have general anesthesia, you will be watched by a nurse in the recovery room until you are fully awake.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to take care of your biopsy site. During your follow-up visit, your doctor will discuss the results of your biopsy with you and take out your stitches.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference February 27, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference C. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS - General Surgery