What is a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy?
A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a diagnostic procedure to identify cancer metastasis from the primary tumor to regional lymph nodes. This method of diagnosis focuses on detecting the first lymph node that cancer is expected to spread to, known as the sentinel lymph node. At Century ENT, we utilize this technique for specific skin cancers and, more recently, oral cavity cancers, including those affecting the tongue, floor of mouth, or cheek.
Advantages of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
There are numerous advantages to choosing a sentinel lymph node biopsy:
- Increased accuracy in targeting the highest-risk lymph node
- Outpatient procedure in most cases
- Smaller incision
- Faster recovery compared to traditional lymph node removal methods
Methodology of the Procedure
The process begins with the injection of a radioactive tracer near the primary tumor on the morning before the surgery. Over the next 1-2 hours, images are obtained to track the movement of the tracer. Using these images or a special probe that detects the tracer, the sentinel lymph node is identified.
Subsequently, you will be taken to the operating room, where the tumor is removed under general anesthesia. The surgeon also locates and removes the sentinel lymph node. The removed lymph node undergoes special testing over the course of 1-2 weeks to determine if cancer cells are present.
Recovery after a sentinel lymph node biopsy is typically swift. Patients may experience pain, which is usually well controlled with over-the-counter pain medication. It is important to follow up with your healthcare team one week after surgery for a wound check and to discuss the pathology results. This accurate information allows your medical team to make informed decisions regarding future treatment recommendations, ensuring the best care for your specific condition.
When it comes to sentinel lymph node biopsy, Century ENT offers advanced diagnostic techniques and a patient-centered approach. Our skilled team of surgeons and specialists will guide you through the entire process, providing comprehensive care and support.
Trust Century ENT for accurate cancer diagnosis. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards precise treatment and improved outcomes.