What are the risk factors for failed sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy mapping of breast cancer?

Updated: Feb 13, 2019
  • Author: Mary Jo Wright, MD; Chief Editor: James Neal Long, MD, FACS  more...
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Factors that are thought to contribute to mapping failure include the following:

  • Medial lesions that map to the intramammary nodes without concomitant drainage to the ipsilateral axillary lymph nodes

  • Injection into a cavity with a mature lining

  • Inflammation around a biopsy site that occludes lymphatic channels

  • Obstruction of lymphatic channels by tumor cells

  • Complete replacement of lymph nodes by tumor

In addition, in older patients, the capacity of lymph nodes to retain the radioactive colloid or dye may be reduced because lymph nodes in the elderly tend to be replaced by fat.

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