Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a minimally invasive method that was developed to stage the regional lymphatics of patients with cutaneous melanoma. Many studies performed worldwide have shown that SLNB is a feasible method to stage the cervical lymphatics in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The accuracy of SLNB in patients with HNSCC is currently under investigation in a multicenter study sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group that compares the results of SLNB with standard elective neck dissection. Research to date has also shown that multiple SLNs and individualized drainage patterns characterize head and neck mucosal sites. These findings suggest that lymphoscintigraphy alone may be useful to delineate the lymphatic basins that require treatment in patients with HNSCC and in patients whose head and neck lymphatics are disrupted because of prior surgery or irradiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging