Hospitals & Services
Assessment of patients with suspected lymphoedema.
Identification of sentinel lymph node (SLN)
Small radiolabelled colloidal particles are injected into lymphatic rich epidermal areas. The particles are small enough to move freely in lymph vessels and are temporarily trapped in nodes.
In cases of suspected lymphoedema the nano-colloid is injected into the web spaces of the hands or feet. When the procedure is used to identify the sentinel node; in breast carcinoma, the nano-colloid is injected in the periareolar region and in melanoma, it is injected either side of the melanoma scar.
The length of the procedure, (1–3 hours) should be noted when organising a patient's theatre schedule. If the patient has early morning surgery, the procedure should be arranged for the afternoon before.
Images are taken until the SLN is visualised. The position of the sentinel node is then marked on the skin.
The SLN is the first node that drains from a tumour. If the node is biopsied and found to be tumour free, then the likelihood of nodal spread of tumour is very low. The SLN is identified in the operating theatre using a specially designed radiation probe and a blue dye.