Lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymphadenectomy in primary cutaneous melanoma.
The management of clinically normal regional lymph nodes in early-stage melanoma has been controversial for over 100 years. Lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymphadenectomy has been developed as a minimally invasive surgical technique to stage regional lymph nodes without the associated morbidity of complete lymph node dissection. Multiple retrospective studies have validated the accuracy of lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymphadenectomy and the importance of the sentinel lymph node as a prognostic tool for melanoma. Several multicenter, prospective, randomized trials are underway to validate the data of the Phase II studies and determine the therapeutic benefit of lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymphadenectomy.
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