Effect of Massage Technique on Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping for Cancer of the Breast

Haynes, Georgia; Garske, Diane; Case, Doug; Shen, Perry; Levine, Edward A.; Perrier, Nancy D.
June 2003
American Surgeon;Jun2003, Vol. 69 Issue 6, p520
Academic Journal
Sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping has substantially changed the nature of surgery for cancer of the breast. Variables such as tracer type, volume, injection site, timing, and surgical experience have all been extensively evaluated. However, little attention has been paid to the technique of massage for SLN procedures. We sought to evaluate the effects of three different massage techniques on mapping success or accuracy of SLN mapping for breast cancer. All lymphatic mapping procedures for breast cancer at our tertiary-care center were performed by three experienced surgeons using both colloid and dye followed by a 5-minute massage. All data pertaining to SLN identification, histopathology, tumor characteristics, and patient demographics were entered into the Breast Care Center database. Consistent and uniquely differing massage techniques classified as resuscitative, buffer, or knead-like were each used by a specific surgeon. The last 25 consecutive cases performed by two surgeons and the last 24 by one surgeon were evaluated. The overall rate of SLN identification was 97 per cent, and the overall accuracy was 98.7 per cent. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of SLN identification or accuracy between techniques. The proportions of blue-stained SLNs were similar, but the resuscitative technique yielded fewer hot SLNs (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.02). This method also yielded one false negative case. The three different massage techniques yielded a similar number of blue-stained SLNs. The resuscitative technique yielded fewer hot SLNs than the kneading and buffer methods. Our results failed to demonstrate a superior breast massage technique for identifying sentinel nodes. A larger randomized trial is needed to confirm these findings.


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