Current trends in patient care include the desire for minimizing invasiveness of procedures and interventions. This aim is reflected in the increasing utilization of sentinel lymph node biopsy, which results in a lower level of morbidity in breast cancer staging, in comparison to extensive conventional axillary dissection. Optimized lymphoscintigraphy with triangulated body marking is a clinical option that can further reduce morbidity, more than when a hand held gamma probe alone is utilized. Unfortunately it is often either overlooked or not fully understood, and thus not utilized. This results in the unnecessary loss of an opportunity to further reduce morbidity. Optimized lymphoscintigraphy and triangulated body marking provides a detailed 3 dimensional map of the number and location of the sentinel nodes, available before the first incision is made. The number, location, relevance based on time/sequence of appearance of the nodes, all can influence 1) where the incision is made, 2) how extensive the dissection is, and 3) how many nodes are removed. In addition, complex patterns can arise from injections. These include prominent lymphatic channels, pseudosentinel nodes, echelon and reverse echelon nodes and even contamination, which are much more difficult to access with the probe only. With the detailed information provided by optimized lymphoscintigraphy and triangulated body marking, the surgeon can approach the axilla in a more enlightened fashion, in contrast to when the less informed probe only method is used. This allows for better planning, resulting in the best cosmetic effect and less trauma to the tissues, further reducing morbidity while maintaining adequate sampling of the sentinel node(s).
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