• Sentinel Node Biopsy

    Asked by Cactus49 on Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Sentinel Node Biopsy

    What is it like?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • HearMeRoar's Avatar

      Hi! I had a radical mast on my left side and a simple in the right. The simple is where they jusy take a few nodes, in my case 3. The radical side they took 12. The difference for me was in the healing from surgery and some tightness still on the left. Overall the side where they just took the sentinal nodes was easy! Hope this helps and I wish you well.

      over 3 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      I had mine done during surgery. It was a bit painful after for several days. I found keeping a small pillow under my arm really helped a lot! Good luck to you!

      over 3 years ago
    • Gabba's Avatar

      I found that there was less pain at the site of my lumpectomy than at the sentinel node biopsy site...I had five nodes removed...keeping pressure on it (small pillow between my arm and side) and keeping it elevated helped quite a bit...I occasionally would get a sharp, shooting pain down the arm but not intolerable. The preparation for the sentinel node biopsy is not pleasant, wire guide, dye injected into nipple, but the procedure itself is done during your surgery and you will do fine...the technicians and doctors were wonderful and explained everything before and during the procedure...ask questions and for a complete explanation before you undergo the whole process. Good luck and God bless!

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear Cactus49,

      Hi. I'm Aliza, a BC patient and retired Medical Librarian who practices on this site and elsewhere giving advice (usually non medical), making referrals to doctors, hospitals, institutions, agencies, etc. and research when requested or required.

      A sentinel node biopsy is performed by having you go to the hospital a day or two before your mastectomy and dye injected into the affected breast. Then at the time of your surgery, your Breast Surgeon will remove the "sentinel node", the node closest to the site of your lump, the dye with which you're injected makes this easier to see. If this "sentinel node" is free of cancer (being the one closest to the lump), then the prevailing thought is that the rest of the nodes are clean as well, meaning that the cancer has not spread into the lymph nodes. If the sentinel node shows signs of cancer, they will remove all the lymph nodes (which has the down side of making to susceptible to lymphedema.

      over 3 years ago
    • Cactus49's Avatar

      I have heard that the prep (radioactive tracer injection) can be done in surgery after anesthesia, but for some reason doctors don't "prefer" to do this.

      over 3 years ago
    • grandmaof2's Avatar

      I had to have my radioactive tracer injection done at least 2 hrs. before my surgery. After the injection, they put me in a quiet room and I had to wait for a CAT scan to make sure the dye had moved all the way through my system. I actually had to massage the breast for 20 minutes after the injection. If it was done during the surgery, that would make for a longer surgery time. This way when they go in... they can check to see which lymph nodes, if any, are giving off a signal. Two of mine were giving off the same signal, so they removed those two.

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I had two node removals. The first, after the tracer stuff (which hurt like XXX (the needle), but is better if you are awake because it moves faster and the anesthesia can't interfere and you want it to work correctly). They took two nodes--recovery was easy, no issues. One of the two they took came back positive so we went back in to take the rest (another 25).

      Tall of them will mess up your system a bit but was so worth it. It involved a drain (pain in the XXX) and a lot of changes to my arm (the limb where mine drained) where they were removed. Some people have problems, some less so and no way to know in advance. I was lucky. First, none of the other nodes came back positive (knowledge is power) and I have had few problems with my arm although it sill doesn't have the full range of motion it had before. There really isn't a better way to tell what is going on than this procedure.

      Make sure the nurses tell you how to deal with the drain properly. I had to beg the nurses to instruct me. It was horrible. Make them show you before you leave the hospital because it is a pain. You will probably have it in for at least two weeks but they only do this for a full node removal.

      over 3 years ago
    • Dick_K's Avatar

      For me, the anxiety and the injection of the radiation tracer material were the worst. I ended up having thirteen nodes removed from my neck which caused the surgery to be longer than what was expected. It was done on an outpatient basis and there was discomfort as I struggled to get into the car after discharge. (I’m 6’ 3” tall and the car was small and low to the ground, not easy to get into under normal circumstances.)

      Post surgery there were no real problems and healing went well. Here’s to hoping your nodes are all clear. Best of luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • grampam's Avatar

      Any kind of surgery is uncomfortable. The post-surgery pain is taken care of with meds, a couple of days of these and the rest is bearable After two months I'm still sore and I haven't had my radiation yet, but I pray and do what I am able to, and rest when I need to. Don't worry my friends, you will make it through just as we all have. May God hold you in His hands and bless you.

      over 3 years ago

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