Sentinel node biopsy has become an integral part of staging metastatic spread from neoplasia such as malignant melanoma and breast cancer. This study aims to optimize localization of sentinel node(s) in patients with primary melanoma by improved pre-operative measurement of their position. Forty-three patients with primary melanoma underwent sentinel node biopsy. Pre-operatively, patients underwent assessment of their sentinel nodes including depth measurements using lymphoscintigraphy and ultrasound. At the time of operation, the sentinel node was identified using blue dye injected into the site of the primary melanoma as well as by application of the gamma probe. The blinded observer noted the depth of the node. Pre-operative and operative sentinel node depth measurements were compared to assess the accuracy of the predicted depth. The results showed a good correlation between the predicted and actual depth measurements. Pre-operative assessment of depth is therefore a reliable means of predicting sentinel node depth. This provides useful information for the surgeon in identifying nodes, especially where there are multiple sentinel nodes or when nodes appear in unexpected sites.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2003
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