Background Although sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNLB) has become a standard ancillary to breast conservation, there remains a hesitancy to perform SLNB concomitant with mastectomy primarily because of concerns regarding reoperation for a positive SLN. Methods A retrospective review of 51 patients who underwent SLN biopsy concomitantly with mastectomy for invasive breast cancer was performed. In addition, a survey was sent to surgical oncologists who routinely perform SLNB in conjunction with mastectomy. Results The SLN was identified in 98% of patients, and an average of 2.4 SLNs/patient were removed. The SLN was positive in 14 patients (27%). Ten patients underwent axillary lymph node dissection as a second procedure; an average of 15.4 ± 6 nodes were cleared, and there were no complications. Although techniques vary greatly among surgeons, the majority believe that a subsequent ALND procedure does not carry additional risk of morbidity. Conclusions Mastectomy and concomitant SLNB is a safe option for well-selected breast cancer patients. Results appear acceptable using a variety of techniques. Patients with a positive SLN can safely undergo completion axillary lymph node dissections. This includes patients who have undergone immediate reconstruction, but proper planning is needed to minimize potential risks.
- Sentinal lymph node biopsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas