This leaflet will provide you with information about the sentinel node examination and how this is carried out in the Department of Nuclear Medicine at HMC. Your surgeon has already discussed this with you. On this webpage, you will find detailed information concerning this examination once again.
Entrance from parking area
2nd floor, room A2-20
We ask you to be on time.
Our telephone number is (+31) (0)88 979 22 43.
What is a sentinel node?
The sentinel node, which is generally in the armpit, is the first lymph node that the lymph ducts from the breast drain. This is called the ’sentinel node’ because it forms the entrance to the other lymph nodes. The sentinel node can provide information of the presence or absence of metastases in the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Objective of the examination
The objective is to locate and map out this first lymph node, to which the tumor could metastasize, as preparation for the surgery. The examination is also intended to enable to make decisions concerning the course of the treatment.
There is no specific preparation necessary for this examination.
The examination consists of localising the sentinel node and bringing it into view by means of a lymph node scintigram. This examination takes place in the Department of Nuclear Medicine on the day prior to the operation.
In order to make the sentinel node clearly visible, a mildly radioactive fluid is injected, which is made visible with aid of a special camera.
First the nuclear physician or the doctor inject a small amount of radioactive fluid at the location of the tumor. The jab with the needle through the skin may be a bit painful, comparable to a jab when blood is taken for a test. After the fluid is injected it is important to massage carefully the injection spot for 10 minutes. Two or three hours after the injection the examination will start. During the examination, you lie on your back on an examination table. The camera is placed right above you. This acquisition will take 6 minutes. Subsequently, the position of the lymph node is marked on the skin with a felt-tipped pen in order to make the surgery location clear. Then we will make a second view (lateral view) with the same procedure as above.
The whole examination will take 20 minutes.
After the examination you’re allowed to take a shower, but don’t rub the ink spot away.
If you have any questions after reading this leaflet, please call the Department of Nuclear Medicine. We can be contacted Monday to Friday from 08.00 till 17.00 on the telephone number (+31) (0)88 979 22 43.