Healthcare: Cancer Care

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Skin Cancer

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Scott Holmes
Inguinal sentinel lymph node biopsy

A sentinel lymph node is a node or nodes that is likely to be the closest node draining a cancer, making it the earliest to show if a metastasis has occurred. Our surgical oncologists may biopsy or remove lymph nodes near your hip or arm pit to see if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Blue dye and a radiotracer will first be injected into the skin around the melanoma lesion. A small incision is made over the lymph node area. Any lymph nodes with radiotracer activity will be removed.

The biopsy will then be sent to a laboratory for testing. Additional lymph nodes may be dissected. The wide local excision of the melanoma lesion will then be performed.