Sentinel-lymph-node biopsy (SLNB) for melanoma is not complication-free

N. Wasserberg, H. Tulchinsky, J. Schachter, M. Feinmesser, H. Gutman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is reportedly associated with insignificant morbidity. The study aims at documenting SLNB-related complications and identifying possible risk factors. Method. Data of all melanoma patients who underwent SLNB in our medical center(1994-2002) were analysed. Procedure-related complications were recorded. Result. Three hundred and nine lymphatic basins of 250 patients were explored for SLNB. Overall complication rate was 20%. Sensory morbidity was significantly associated with axillary SLNB (pZ0.04) and was more prevalent in younger patients. The use of blue dye alone or combined with a hand-held gamma probe had no statistically significant impact on the identification rate. There were six false-negatives (2.3%), for an overall false-negative rate of 18%. A positive sentinel node was significantly associated with shortened overall survival (pZ0.04). Conclusion. Wound complications are more frequent than usually reported. Sensory morbidity occurs mostly in the axilla. Neck SLNB is associated with the highest rate of identification failure. Patient age, basin location, and number of excised nodes may serve as prognostic factors of morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-856
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Complication
  • Edema
  • Melanoma
  • Metastasis
  • Neuropathy
  • Prognosis
  • Sentinel node
  • Wound


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