The use of diagnostic techniques makes it possible to detect the tumours early and this means that it is not always necessary to remove the axillary lymph nodes. These nodes are responsible for fighting infection, destroying the bacteria and preventing them from passing into the bloodstream.
The technique used to identify the first nodes (sentinel nodes) to which the tumour is likely to spread (metastasize) is called asentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). There are a number of advantages with this technique compared to conventional axillary lymph node dissection, such as a reduced incidence of lymphoedema(swelling of the arm) and fewer surgical complications. With a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), the biopsy is examined later by pathology in order to allow a full study to be carried out and rule out possible micrometastases in cases where the conventional study has come back negative.
Teknon currently works with the OSNA method, a new generation technique which is more accurate and enables analysis of the whole sentinel lymph node during the operation. This avoids the situation of having to subject the patient to a second operation to dissect the axillary lymph nodes after the post-operative analysis comes back positive. It also makes it possible to determine more accurately and with greater precision which nodes may be affected by tumour cells.