Patients with breast cancer or melanoma need appropriate diagnostic studies to determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the axilla. Should a fine needle aspiration or sentinel lymph node found to be positive for cancer, the entire bed of axillary lymph nodes can be removed to deter the spread of cancer. It is important for patients to understand the procedure prior to the operation.
Lymph tissue is part of the immune system are found throughout the body. The areas most easily palpated include the neck, supra clavicular area, the axilla, and the groin. The lymph nodes act as a filtering system of the body, ridding it of bacteria and viruses. This is why lymph nodes get swollen during an infection. In patients with cancer, the immune system also plays an important role in controlling its spread. However, if the lymph nodes contain cancer they require excision or possibly chemotherapy and/or radiation.
An axillary lymph node dissection removes all of the lymph tissue from the axilla or underarm. A ten-centimeter incision is made just inferior to the border of the hairline. Care is taken to protect the nerves and blood vessels found in the area. Ideally, the tissue is removed in one piece. This is sent to pathology and depending on the results, patients may require more treatment. Patients usually stay overnight in the hospital after this procedure, but shortly return to normal activities. Patients may require prophylactic physical therapy to ensure they do not find themselves with a stiff shoulder from lack of use.
Patients throughout the West coast of Florida from St. Petersburg to Sarasota should rely on an estimable surgical specialist such as a board-certified general surgeon to perform this technically advanced procedure. Many patients throughout Florida living in Desoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties will contact the Florida Surgical Clinic in Bradenton, FL. This clinic is led by Dr. Jenna Kazil. Dr. Kazil is an acclaimed double board-certified vascular and general surgeon who treats every patient with the compassion they deserve. For all your surgical needs, contact Dr. Kazil at the Florida Surgical Clinic today to schedule an appointment.