Sentinel node localization in primary melanoma: Preoperative dynamic lymphoscintigraphy, intraoperative gamma probe, and vital dye guidance

Roberto Gennari, M. Bartolomei, A. Testori, S. Zurrida, H. S. Stoldt, R. A. Audisio, J. G. Geraghty, G. Paganelli, U. Veronesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Sentinel node (SN) biopsy can be used to select patients with primary melanoma for therapeutic lymphadenectomy. The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy of 3 methods to locate the SN: preoperative dynamic lymphoscintigraphy, intraoperative patent blue dye (PBD), and gamma- detecting probe (GDP). Methods. We studied 133 patients with cutaneous melanoma and clinically negative lymph nodes. Within 24 hours before surgery, colloid labeled with technetium 99m was injected intradermally around the site of the primary melanoma. The patients were studied before their operations by using dynamic lymphoscintigraphy. A total of 208 SNs were found in 164 lymph node basins. In addition, all the patients had PBD injected immediately before the surgical procedure. When the blue-stained node was identified intraoperatively, its radioactivity level was measured with the GDP. In the absence of blue coloration, the GDP was used to trace the SN. Results. Of 208 8Ns, 168 (80.8%) were identified in the regional draining basin during intraoperative lymphatic mapping by using PBD. By using the GDP method, 202 (97.1%) of 208 were identified (GDP vs PBD; P <.01). By combining the 2 methods, 206 (99%) of 208 SNs were detected. Of the 133 patients, 29 (21.8%) had pathologically positive SNs, and were subsequently subjected to regional lymphadenectomy. In 26 (89.7%) of 29 patients, the SN was the only node with metastasis. Three cases (10.3%) of recurrence in patients with microscopic SN metastasis and 7 cases (6.7%) of recurrence in patients without SN metastasis were found during a median follow-up of 566 days. Conclusions. Preoperative dynamic lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperative mapping with PBD and GDP offer simple and reliable methods of staging regional lymph nodes without subjecting every patient to a regional lymphadenectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalSurgery
Volume127
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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