Breast cancer surgery with sentinel node biopsy


This procedure is carried out in order to spare patients without metastasis in the armpit from unnecessary problems with the arm after surgery.


Tumors with a maximum diameter of 3 cm. No clinical signs of spread to the armpit. No mammographic signs of more than one tumor in the breast.


The sentinel nodes are identified with a Geiger meter and visually by using an injected dye. Frozen section biopsies  are taken during surgery. The traditional armpit surgery, removing 10 - 15 lymph nodes, is carried out only if there are signs of spread to a sentinel node; otherwise, only the sentinel nodes (1-3) are removed.


This is in most cases an out-patient procedure if the sentinel node biopsy can be combined with breast preserving surgery. In other cases, the in-patient time is 1-3 days.


Two weeks after surgery, a follow-up visit is made to the Department of Oncology for possible additional treatment and follow-ups.

Examination techniques

An isotope examination is carried out on the morning of the surgery in order to identify the sentinel nodes before the intervention. After general anesthesia, a blue dye is injected in the skin over the tumor. 

Page revised Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Content manager: Göran Liljegren

Published by Anita Pettersson

Switchboard: 019-602 10 00


Göran Liljegren

Senior registrar

Leszek Kubalski

Breast nurse

Siv Kindgren

019-602 65 73