Sentinel Node Biopsy
What is Lymphoscintigraphy?
Lymphoscintigraphy is a test that is used in the staging of certain types of cancer. It will check to see if it may have spread to any lymph nodes. This test helps to trace the path at which a tumor may drain, and what lymph node it may drain to. The first lymph node that the tumor may spread to is called the sentinel lymph node. This test may be done on the same day of your surgery. It takes place in the nuclear medicine department just before your surgery.
How is the test done?
You will be given an injection of a radioactive tracer near or at the site of the tumor. There may be some pain. About 15 minutes before the biopsy your doctor injects a blue dye in the same place. During the biopsy, your doctor looks at the lymph nodes. The imaging is used to check which lymph nodes have taken up the radioactive tracer. One or more nodes may take up the dye and radioactive tracer. These nodes are the sentinel lymph nodes. Your surgeon then removes these lymph nodes and sends them to a pathologist for quick examination under a microscope to look for the presence of cancer.
What can I expect after the test?
Your surgeon will do the rest of your surgery under general anesthesia. You will then be taken to the recovery room. You may notice that your urine is blue in color from the dye. This should go away within 24 hours. You will follow up with your surgeon for the final results of the biopsy at your next appointment.
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Last Updated: 07/03/2012
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