Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping for Gynecologic Cancer
Your lymphatic system — the system responsible for carrying the white blood cells that fight infection — is a major route by which cancer cells can spread throughout your body.
At the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program, we use sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping to determine if cancer cells have spread to your lymph nodes.
A surgeon performs an SLN biopsy — a minimally invasive procedure — to remove the main (sentinel) lymph nodes to test for cancer.
What Can I Expect During a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy?
During your SLN biopsy, your surgeon:
- Injects dye near the tumor to identify the SLN (the main lymph node) where the cancer is likely to have spread first.
- Makes a small incision and removes the SLN for biopsy.
- Sends your SLN biopsy sample to a pathologist who examines it to determine if cancer is present.
|Not detected in the SLN,
||Will not need further surgery on the lymph nodes.|
|Detected in the SLN,
||May need a full axillary lymph node dissection. In some cases, removal of additional lymph nodes may not be necessary.|