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Lymphoscintigraphy

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Updated August 03, 2009

Definition: Lymphoscintigraphy is a method used to check the lymph system for the spread of melanoma. It is used to find the sentinel lymph node (the first node to receive lymph from a tumor), which may be removed and checked for melanoma tumor cells.

Prior to the sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure, you will receive 4 injections of a radioactive material just under the skin in the area near the melanoma tumor. Pictures will be taken for 1 hour to show the flow of the material through the lymph nodes. A doctor will then mark your skin at the sentinel node sites. These marks will be used by your doctor during surgery.

Lymphoscintigraphy is also used to test if a patient has lymphedema, a swelling of leg or arm that can occur due to surgical removal of the lymph nodes.

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