Background: Previous mastectomy is unanimously considered to represent an absolute technical contraindication to sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). Methods: Four patients who underwent total mastectomy and plastic reconstruction with prosthesis, developed, during the follow up, a unique invasive limited local subdermic recurrence amenable to surgical excision, with clinically negative axillary nodes. In all patients preoperative lymphoscintigraphy with subdermal injection of 99mTc-labeled colloidal particles correctly showed an axillary sentinel lymph node (SLN). Results: Metastases in SLN were detected in two patients, and a complete axillary dissection followed. The remaining two patients had a negative SLN and no axillary clearance was performed. Conclusions: In selected cases, the subdermal injection of radioisotope permits the identification of an axillary SLN, even in mastectomized patients. Despite SLNB in mastectomized patients being technically feasible, only a larger population and longer patient follow up could confirm its true predictive value. However, there are no anatomical or physiological reasons to exclude "a priori" this diagnostic opportunity.
- Axillary sentinel lymph node biopsy
- Breast cancer
- Previous total mastectomy
- Tumor recurrence
ASJC Scopus subject areas