What are the nodes and the lymphatic system?
Lymph nodes are rounded structures that usually measure between 2 – 5 mm. They are part of the lymphatic system, included within the body’s immune system. Basically, the lymph nodes are linked together by very delicate ducts. Its main function is to collect fluids and waste products from the cells and tissues of the body until they are released into the venous system. Depending on the type and size of cancer, they may have more or less capacity to invade the lymphatic channels around the tumor and spread to the lymph nodes, causing metastasis.
What is a lymphadenectomy?
Lymphadenectomy means the removal of all the lymph nodes in a certain region of the body. So, in gynecological cancer, and depending on the location of the tumor, pelvic, abdominal, inguinal, etc. lymphadenectomy is usually performed.
They are usually performed preventively or therapeutically as part of surgical procedures for each type of cancer of the female genital organs. Since the lymph nodes are located around the blood vessels (arteries and veins) of each region of the body, they are very delicate procedures that must be performed by professionals with a sufficient level of training.
Likewise, patients can have consequences both during surgery due to bleeding or after the intervention with an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that can be more or less symptomatic depending on each case.
What is the sentinel lymph node?
Frequently patients arrive with the question Sentinel lymph node, what is it? The sentinel lymph node is the first node to receive malignant cells from the tumor if it has been able to infiltrate the lymphatic capillaries. (lymphatic metastases) On certain occasions, there may be two or three sentinel lymph nodes.
Sentinel node location
Where is the sentinel node located? The sentinel is not a single node, but the one that is closest to the tumor area and shows the first signs that something is wrong. Sometimes there may be more than one sentinel node, which has allowed the pathologists in charge of treatment to be able to update some medical techniques for the detection and approach of the disease in patients who show positive signs against said disease.
According to the World Health Organization, every 30 seconds a woman in the world dies due to this condition.
Request review or treatment using the sentinel node technique with the specialist Dr Lucas Minig located in the city of Valencia in Spain.
How is the sentinel lymph node identified?
The first step is to inject, a few minutes/hours before surgery, a radioactive substance, a blue dye, or both near the tumor. After that, they proceed to detect and identify the lymph node(s) that contain the radioactive substance or look for lymph nodes that are stained with the blue dye. Once identified, it is removed for a thorough histological analysis in search of malignant cells by the pathologist.
The diagnosis is usually made during the same intervention. In this way, if no malignant cells are found in the sentinel node, it is not necessary to remove the remaining lymph nodes from the region of the body being studied (pelvis, abdomen, groin, etc.). The opposite case occurs if the pathologist finds malignant cells in the sentinel node. Here, lymphadenectomy should be performed in order to determine the stage of cancer (extent of the disease within the body) and establish the best therapeutic strategy for each particular patient.
What type of gynecological tumors can be performed with the sentinel lymph node technique?
Book a medical appointmentwith Doctor Lucas Minig specialist in Gynecology Oncology in Spain, who performs his treatments and diagnoses in the city of Valencia, Spain.
If you want to solve some doubts related to the Sentinel Ganglion technique or suspect a tumor or other gynecological pathology/disease, you may be interested in a consultation with a specialist in Gynecology.
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If you live outside of Valencia, you can contact us through an online appointment, we also have a service to receive a second medical opinion or any type of personalized attention through telephone lines or contact forms, you can make an appointment in person at the shortest possible time quickly and effectively for the treatment of the tumor.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Sentinel Lymph Node Technique
What are the possible consequences of a complete regional lymphadenectomy?
Possible side effects include:
- Lymphedema or swelling of the legs. This is because the lymphatic vessels that go to and from the lymph nodes are severed. This disrupts the normal flow of lymph through the affected area, which can lead to an abnormal buildup of lymphatic fluid that can cause swelling. Lymphedema may cause pain or discomfort in the affected area, and the overlying skin may thicken or harden.
- Seroma, or a mass or lump caused by the accumulation of lymphatic fluid at the site of surgery.
- Numbness, tingling, swelling, bruising, or pain at the surgery site, and an increased risk of infection.
- Difficulty moving the affected body part.
Where and who should perform sentinel node detection/lymphadenectomy?
To identify the sentinel node, a multidisciplinary team is required, made up not only of a specialized gynecologist, but also of nuclear medicine specialists, radiologists, and pathologists. That is why it is essential that the team is led by professionals with the appropriate level of training with the aim of correctly identifying the sentinel node to guarantee the highest expectations of cancer cure, and minimizing complications.
In the event that the woman has a malignant tumor, contact our medical team in Valencia and the entire Spanish territory (online appointment for all of Spain) to arrange an appointment/review and carry out the appropriate procedure to resolve the problem.
What are the benefits of sentinel node determination?
The main benefit is to analyze in detail a lymph node in particular and know exactly if the tumor has spread or not to the lymphatic system. In this sense, it is important to mention that the histological analysis of the sentinel node is more detailed than for the other lymph nodes. In this way, very small lymphatic metastases are not overlooked.
In addition, the possibility of having intra-operative complications and post-surgical morbidity is much lower when removing the sentinel node compared to a complete regional lymphadenectomy
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