Gamma-probe-guided lymph node localization in malignant melanoma

J C Alex, D L Weaver, J T Fairbank, B S Rankin, D N Krag
Surgical Oncology 1993, 2 (5): 303-8
The initial draining lymph node (sentinel node) has been successfully localized using intraoperative vital dye mapping and reportedly is predictive of regional nodal metastases in Clinical- Stage 1 melanoma. In an animal model, we previously established the technique of gamma-probe-guided localization of the technetium-99 sulfur colloid labelled sentinel node and found its sensitivity equal to vital dye mapping. We now report our initial experience using gamma-probe-guided localization to identify and then surgically remove the first draining lymph node(s) in 10 malignant melanoma patients. Lymphoscintigraphy was used to confirm localization. We conclude that this technique: (a) reliably localizes the sentinel node draining the site of a primary melanoma, (b) allows the lymphatic bed to be checked intraoperatively verifying complete sentinel node biopsy, and (c) is relatively simple and can be performed under local anaesthesia.

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