As a concept sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is attractive in that it attempts to identify the first lymph node, rather than the nearest node, draining a particular anatomic area where a tumour has arisen. Pathological assessment can then indicate whether metastases are present and the procedure is either therapeutic in itself or a strong prognostic indicator. These comments apply to any tumour type but with melanoma the pathological procedure is more problematic and the benefits only recently are becoming clearer. The procedure does give accurate staging without the extra morbidity of regional node dissection (RND).
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