Sentinel Node Biopsy Instructions

Last Modified: October 10, 2006

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I had a sentinel node biopsy done in my right groin 8 days ago. At first, the nurse said I should walk, but my surgeon said 2 days ago to minimize walking. Since then, I have minimized walking, but it seems that the fluid (seroma) has built up more with less walking. I'm wondering what the right amount of circulation is, and am having trouble finding post-op instructions specifically for groin lymph node removal. Any suggestions?


Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, AOCN, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, responds:

I usually recommend moderate exercise. Some walking is good for blood circulation, range of motion, and general well-being; however, any type of strenuous exercise can disrupt the surgical bed, and this is quite possible in the groin region. If the area of the biopsy has any redness, swelling, warmth, or change in the texture of the skin, or if you have a fever, you should contact your surgeon's office, as you may need to be evaluated.

Since you had a relatively small surgery with only a few lymph nodes removed

(a sentinel node procedure), it is likely that this will resolve quickly and that you will be feeling back to normal very soon. Again, if the fluid continues to build up, it might need to be drained. This is a quick procedure done in the surgeon's office.

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