USC Surgery / Services / Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed most often by using a dual technique to map the chain of lymph nodes in order to correctly identify the first lymph node that drains the breast, called the “sentinel” node. This node will harbor any distant spread of tumor from the primary breast tumor. The dual technique is accomplished by using blue dye and a radioisotope to aid the surgeon in correctly identifying the sentinel lymph node. The “blue” and “hot” nodes are the sentinel lymph nodes. In cases in which patients are not a candidate for sentinel lymph node biopsy or rare cases in which the sentinel lymph node does not map, then an axillary lymph node dissection would be indicated.

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