Can anyone tell me if the sentinel node biopsy is very painful?
I had an SNB in my armpit area. It was done under sedation and only mild discomfort handled by over the counter pain meds for a few days.
The same for the area excision which was done prior to the SNB by 10 days as outpatient under local. Mild discomfort and some itching when the tissue heald.
Both proceedures are COMMON.
You don't mention where you live and are being treated this is IMPORTANT info. In my opinion it is important to be seen by a Melanoma specialist EARLY to make sure you are given all the updated info. Many oncologists and dermotologists are not up to date on treatment options.
Jerry from Cape Cod
It's about kickin' Melanoma's butt!
"Meh. Get on with it. Do not feed rabid monkeys. To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another." in memory of NicOz
I had SNB of the groin, and the Wide excision was more annoying than the SNB. I took the week out of work, but was actually out working in the garden the next day (maybe not the best decision, though!).
As Jerry said, this is an extremely common procedure and is the standard to figure out what's going on with you.
Fight like hell
Thanks guys, mine will be in the armpit and will be done the same time that they go back in to do a wider incision. The labs came back and showed rogue cells even though the margins were clear, weird huh. Hard for me to believe he can take more the wound is 6 inches across my back already. I do trust him though, he is a surgical oncologist at UC Irvine.
Thanks for your input.
I can't speak from my experience, but my husband had 2 SNB done 9/15/10 (under each armpit) and he said it was quite painful/annoying for about a month. They were very tender, and I think just the fact of being under the armpit, it caused alot of discomfort. He still does not have feeling in one area. One side was swollen for a while, but eventually the swelling went down. For the first couple weeks he would try to keep his arms raised when he could to keep the rubbing down to a minimum. Also during the first week, his hands would feel like they had fallen asleep. He also had 3 wide local incisions done at the same time, and those didn't seem to cause him any pain. They did not do stitches, they just used glue and tape, and I think after a bit, once the glue started coming off it felt kind of "sticky", so that bothered him too. I wish you lots of luck.
I had the SNB done during the initial tumor removal in April. The pain was not bad in my case and I did not need to take any pain meds.
My initial surgery and SNB was performed by a general surgeon, not a surgical oncologist. I did not know any better at the time.
One Issue I had that could have been the Surgeons fault was that after the SNB, there is a pocket of missing tissue where they removed the nodes. He stitched it up and after everything healed, fluid tended to build up and caused a bulge in the area of my groin where the lymph nodes were removed.
When i had my WLE and lymphadectomy a month later, that surety was performed by a surgical oncologist and he did some fancy stitch where he covered the open area of the groin with some muscle so I have not had that problem since then. Needless to say, the second surgery was done in the same spot at the SNB so the first surgeons "error?" was corrected by the second surgery.
I believe if the sentinel nodes test positive for Mel, they may want to go further with a second surgery to remove more Lymph nodes.
Bill from Illinois
Stage IV Spine Mets, brain mets ans subq mets.
starting whole brain radiation on 11/8 and then compassionate use IPI ASAP.
My SNB was last year, and I had three nodes removed from my left armpit (including one close to the chest wall). The first few days after surgery I was tender, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I didn't really need any hardcore painkillers past that first day -- ibuprofen did the trick.
After the surgery, I found the hardest thing was not to overdo it. I felt fine, but if I was too active, my armpit would swell and the discomfort was pretty intense. Giving yourself enough time to heal properly is the key. After about 8 weeks, I was able to resume everything normally without discomfort.
Good luck with everything!
Thanks to all who responded to my post about the SNB. I had it done yesterday and for me it was and is painful. They took two nodes and also more flesh from the oriental incision. So now we wait to hear if the nodes are compromised. Wishing good thoughts to all of you.
Did you have surgery with Dr. Jakowatz? He is considered one of the best melanoma surgeons. He used to be Director of Oncology at UCI. Wish he still was.
laughter is the best medicine
Yes I did, how did you know? I like him very much! He has such a positive, warm way about him. When I am in his part of the UCI facility I don't feel like I am "different", like one of "those poor people". Most of the people that work with him are so very kind. Are you a former patient of his?
I took pain pills the night following the surgery, then nothing after that. Piece of cake.
Everything is for the Good.
If this online community is valuable to you, consider making a year-end tax-deductible gift to support the MRF.
Meet and talk to others about melanoma in our forums:
See also: History of the MPIP Forum
–CURE OM Forum
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Email the MRF Nurse
Get matched with a Phone Buddy
View the Melanoma Glossary
Raise awareness and funds to fight melanoma by participating in a Miles for Melanoma 5k walk/run this year!
Find a Miles for Melanoma event near you.
Patient Helpline: (877) 673-6460
1411 K Street, NW Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
(800) 673-1290 Office
(202) 347-9678 Fax
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is leading the melanoma community to transform melanoma from one of the deadliest cancers to one of the most treatable through research, education and advocacy.
The Melanoma Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.