Sentinel-Lymph-Node Biopsy

What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy?

The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node ("lymph gland") to receive lymphatic drainage from a tumor. It stands sentinel over the tumor, so to speak. The biopsy is performed to determine tumor cells existing.

What is the lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic systrem refers to a collection of vessels that, like the system of blood vessels, circulates fluid through the tissues. The lymnphatic drainage refers to the manner in which tissue fluid, or lymph, is draned from the body and returns to a central location - in this case, a lymph gland. The lymph fluid looks milky.

Why do a biopsy of the sentinel node?

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Examination of the sentinel node ("gland") is performed to learn whether that node does or does not have tumor cells within it. The biopsy is performed to verify any existing tumor cells.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/6/2015

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Do you know what you should ask your doctor before you have a biopsy?

Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before a Biopsy

A biopsy is a sample of tissue removed by your doctor to make a precise diagnosis. Biopsy procedures can range from a simple sampling of skin under local anesthesia to surgical opening of the chest wall to remove a portion of lung tissue. Biopsies may also be obtained during diagnostic procedures such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, and others. Sometimes doctors perform biopsies using a CAT scanor other radiological imaging techniques to help identify the exact area to be sampled and avoid injury to surrounding organs. There are several types of biopsies.