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Sentinel Node Biopsy (cont.)

Risks

Sentinel node biopsy is a procedure that is designed to minimize risks. It is a useful tool for staging breast and other cancers and determining what further treatment is appropriate to offer the patient the highest possible chance of survival. Sentinel node biopsy is also an emerging procedure designed to minimize the risks associated with an axillary lymph node dissection. The most significant risk is that a sentinel node biopsy results in a determination that cancer cells are not metastasizing in the body when, in fact, they really are. This is called a false-negative result. This is a reason that a woman should ensure that her surgeon has performed the procedure several times with accurate results before she undergoes the surgery.

Rarely, a patient can have an allergic reaction to the blue dye. The most mild and most common type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives are usually seen within 24 hours of the dye injection. A very rare patient will have a severe allergic reaction, but this usually happens within minutes of the injection of the dye. Other possible risks of a sentinel node biopsy may occur and are usually mild in severity. These include the following:

  • Pain, discomfort, or fluid collection causing a lump, or numbness (usually short-lived) in the area of the incision
  • Bluish discoloration of the breast tissue (usually temporary, but can be permanent) following injection of the blue dye
  • Drowsiness

The following are possible complications following most surgical procedures:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2014
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