Tomosíntesis Marbella

Sentinel node biopsy

Lymph nodes are an important part of the body’s immune system. They contain B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes, along with other types of cells. These cells search the lymph for “foreign” substances, such as bacteria and viruses. If a foreign substance is detected, some of the cells are activated, initiating an immune response.


Lymph nodes are also important to help determine whether the cancer cells have acquired the ability to spread to other parts of the body.



What is a sentinel lymph node?

The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node to which cancer cells from a primary tumour are more likely to spread.


A sentinel node biopsy is a procedure in which the sentinel lymph node is identified, removed and examined in order to determine whether there are cancerous cells.


If the result is negative, it means that the cancer has not acquired the ability to spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs. On the other hand, a positive result indicates that the cancer is present in the sentinel lymph node and that it may be found in other nearby lymph nodes and possibly other organs.


This information can help the doctor to determine the stage of the cancer (the spread of disease in the body) and thus design a proper treatment plan.



How is a sentinel lymph node biopsy done?

A radioactive substance or a blue dye is injected near the tumour to locate the position of the sentinel lymph node. A device then detects the radioactivity or looks for the dyed lymph tissue, and sentinel lymph node is located. After that, the surgeon makes a small incision in the skin that covers the node and removes it.


Subsequently, a pathologist examines the sample for cancerous cells.




▪ It helps physicians determine the stage of the cancer
▪ It calculates the risk of the tumour cells
▪ It allows more extensive surgeries to be avoided


Dr. Arrazola, Tomás
Especialista en Farmacia Hospitalaria
Especializado en terapia contra el cáncer, certificado por la Sociedad Americana de Farmacéuticos de Hospital

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