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Melanoma » Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

A lymph node dissection is a procedure that is performed in the operating room. The procedure is performed for melanoma patients that either have clinical evidence of disease or who have undergone a sentinel lymph node biopsy that has demonstrated metastatic disease. During a lymph node dissection, all of the lymph node tissue is removed from the lymphatic basin such as the neck, axilla or groin. Most patients require observation for at least 24 hours after the procedure.


What should you do to prepare for a lymph node dissection?


Prior to undergoing a lymph node dissection, please let us know about the following.


1. Are you taking any medicines, particularly anti-inflammatory medicines such as prednisone? Anti-inflammatory medicines may change the way your biopsy looks under the microscope.

2. Are you taking herbs or supplements? Many herbs and supplements will cause additional bleeding in the operating room.

3. Are you allergic to any medicines?

4. Have you had any bleeding problems or are taking blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin)?

5. Are you or might you be pregnant?


Additional testing may be required from your primary care physician depending on your age and overall health.