Sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with malignant melanoma: analysis of post-operative complications

Nicola Solari, Sergio Bertoglio, Alexandru Boscaneanu, Michele Minuto, Simona Reina, Denise Palombo, Paolo Bruzzi, Ferdinando Cafiero

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Background: This study investigates the incidence of post-operative complications and risk factors of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in melanoma patients. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted at a single cancer institution on 408 consecutive SLNBs. Results: Fifty-five post-operative complications occurred in 39 (9.5%) patients and included: wound infection in 24 (5.9%), seroma and lymphorrhea in 15 (3.7%), wound dehiscence in seven (1.7%), lymphocele in six (1.5%) and others in three (0.7%). Univariate analysis failed to identify possible risk factors (i.e. gender, age, lymph node region, number of excised lymph nodes, Breslow index, pT levels, comorbidities, length of surgery and hospital stay). Metastatic sentinel nodes occurred in four of 135 (3%) patients with thin melanoma (Breslow <1 mm) and in 68 of 262 (25.9%) patients with Breslow >1 mm. Conclusion: For patients with thin melanoma in whom the incidence of lymph node metastasis is low, the reported post-operative morbidity of almost 10% of SLNB highlights the need for careful patient selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1044
Number of pages4
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • melanoma
  • post-operative complication
  • risk factor
  • sentinel lymph node biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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