General, Breast and Endocrine Surgeons
Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery

Have Questions? Please Get In Touch
(602) 843-8317 | Se habla Español.

  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn's Office
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn's Office
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn's Office
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsies and Lymph Node Dissection

The spread of cancer occurs as cancer cells spread out from the tumor, into the surrounding lymph nodes, and then throughout the body. If you have a tumor, a sentinel node biopsy is a surgical procedure that can help your doctor determine if cancer has spread into your lymphatic system. It is a procedure used most commonly in evaluating breast cancer and melanoma.

The sentinel lymph nodes are the first few lymph nodes to receive lymphatic drainage from a tumor, and so they are the first lymph nodes to which cancer cells would spread. If the biopsy determines that the sentinel lymph nodes do not contain tumor cells, then it is unlikely the cancer has spread to other organs via the lymphatic system. This procedure allows Doctors Allen A. Agapay, William R. Friese and Jordan J. Glenn to gain critical diagnoses with less pain and recovery time for their patients.

Procedure

To perform a sentinel node biopsy, a small amount of radioactive material and blue dye is injected around the tumor. The radioactive material and blue dye travel to the sentinel node(s) so your surgeon will be able to see them. The nodes are then removed and examined to see if they have cancer. If they do not contain cancer, it is unlikely that the other nodes have cancer. Usually this means there is no need to remove more lymph nodes. Having fewer lymph nodes removed results in a less painful recovery and lowers the likelihood that you will develop lymphedema and other problems caused by damage to lymph vessels and lymph nodes.