, Volume 267, Issue 6, pp 839-844,
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Date: 05 Mar 2010

What is the role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in the management of oral cancer in 2010?

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Introduction

Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a minimally invasive technique, performed in conjunction with radiotracer injection and lymphoscintigraphy. This allows the surgeon to identify and excise targeted upper echelon lymph nodes that drain the site of a primary malignancy for the laboratory detection of what would otherwise be subclinical nodal metastases. This technique offers a less invasive means of staging lymphatic basins in a patient with a primary malignancy, and permits detailed histological, immunohistochemical, and molecular examination of at least the first echelon (frequently second and rarely third) lymph node basin for clinically occult micro- and conventional metastases (clinical stage N0). Use of this technique may potentially avoid overtreatment of patients with oral or oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who undergo elective or opportune neck dissection and are subsequently declared pathologically N0, and hence reduce neck dissection-associated morbidity [

This paper was written by members and invitees of the International Head and Neck Scientific Group (http://www.IHNSG.com).