Eight Years' Experience of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Melanoma Using Lymphoscintigraphy and Gamma Probe Detection After Radiocolloid Mapping

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Isosulfan blue dye peripheral injection is used in preoperative sentinel lymph node (SLN) identification alone or, to increase sensitivity, in conjunction with radiocolloid mapping. However, isosulfan blue dye has certain drawbacks and limitations.


This study assesses the authors' experience of SLN biopsy using only radiocolloid tracer.


Between 2000 and 2008, 218 patients underwent SLN biopsy with radiocolloid mapping, preoperative localization by lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperative confirmation by gamma probe in primary malignant cutaneous melanoma.


Mean Breslow index was 2.1 mm. The SLN biopsy success rate was above 98% at all sites and 87% in head and neck locations. The 5-year overall survival rate was 90% and that of 5-year disease-free survival was 80%. False-negative rate, with a mean follow-up time of 41 months, was 5.5%.


Sentinel lymph node biopsy can be successfully performed in patients with melanoma using only radiocolloid tracer without blue dye staining. In circumstances where blue dye cannot be used such as head and neck tumors, allergic reactions and pregnancy, radiocolloid tracer mapping alone is not a loss of chance for patients with melanoma.

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