comscoreReminders and Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

Reminders and Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

  • Even with an experienced medical team, about 5% of the time no particular sentinel node will take up the dye or tracer during the procedure. It is not a foolproof technique.

  • The procedure is about 10-15% more reliable if both the dye and the radioactive tracer are used, rather than if only one of these two "localizing techniques" is used.

  • When a surgeon puts the dye or tracer directly into the tumor area (not just under the skin), it will drain better into the appropriate axillary lymph nodes. Your surgeon may also massage the breast area after putting in the dye and tracer. Massage improves the chance that the dye and the tracer will be absorbed by the tissues and drain away properly.

  • Undergoing a sentinel lymph node dissection does NOT guarantee that you will not have any side effects of surgery, such as pain, numbness, or lymphedema.

  • The blue dye used in this procedure will stay in your body for quite some time — possibly a few months to a year. You will notice that it looks like a kind of stain under your skin. Some women also notice that their urine is blue immediately after the surgery. This does NOT mean that anything has gone wrong.


Questions to ask your surgeon

  1. Am I a good candidate for sentinel node dissection?

    • Why yes?

    • Why no?

  2. How many sentinel node dissections have you performed?

  3. Will you be using dye AND radioactive tracer? Will it be injected under the skin or into the tumor region?

  4. How many nodes will you remove — only the sentinel node? Or the cluster that turns blue or concentrates the most tracer?

  5. What are my treatment options if the lymph node shows cancer?

— Last updated on January 13, 2022, 4:08 PM