Surgical management of aberrant sentinel lymph node drainage in cutaneous melanoma.
BACKGROUND: Sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping by lymphoscintigraphy has changed the surgical management of regional lymph node metastases for melanoma. SLNs lying outside of traditional nodal basins are now being identified. Our hypothesis is that when preoperative lymphoscintigraphy identifies aberrant SLNs, these nodes should be excised and, if histologically positive, lymphadenectomy of the aberrant nodal basin should be performed. METHODS: Patients with melanomas 1 mm or larger Breslow thickness and clinical stage N0M0 underwent lymphoscintigraphy and excision with SLN biopsy. Preoperative lymphoscintigraphy, intraoperative gamma probe, and intraoperative injection of isosulfan blue were performed to identify the SLN. Aberrant SLNs were defined as epitrochlear, supraclavicular, or popliteal nodes for extremity lesions and intramuscular nodes for truncal and head and neck lesions. RESULTS: Thirty-two patients were entered into the protocol. Seven (22%) were found to have aberrant nodes. Five of 19 patients with extremity melanoma had an aberrant SLN; 2 of 13 patients with truncal and head and neck melanoma had an aberrant SLN. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that (1) aberrant SLNs are encountered with similar frequency for extremity and truncal lesions, (2) biopsy should be performed on aberrant SLNs with intraoperative lymph node mapping with the gamma probe and blue dye, and (3) lymphadenectomy of the aberrant region should be considered if the aberrant SLN is positive.
Lieber, KA; Standiford, SB; Kuvshinoff, BW; Ota, DM
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