Sentinel Node Biopsy for Early Breast Cancer


Patients with early breast cancer without any palpable glands in the armpit may avoid complete axillary dissection by undergoing sentinel node biopsy. The sentinel node is defined as the first node in the armpit which may harbor any cancer cells. These patients are subjected to breast scintigraphy on the day of surgery after injecting radioactive Tc99 nano colloid in the breast behind the nipple. Gamma scan is performed in the nuclear medicine department after roughly two hours of injection and sentinel nodes are localized in the armpit. The patient is then shifted to the operation theatre and sentinel nodes are dissected by a small incision in the armpit. The suspicious axillary lymph nodes are sent for frozen section analyses, and if negative for cancer further compete for axillary clearance is not performed.