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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2006 Sep;32(7):785-9. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

Morbidity after inguinal sentinel lymph node biopsy and completion lymph node dissection in patients with cutaneous melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen and Groningen University, Hanzeplein 1, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.



Aim of the study was to assess the short-term and long-term morbidity after inguinal sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) with or without completion groin dissection (GD) in patients with cutaneous melanoma.


Between 1995 and 2003, 127 inguinal SLNBs were performed for cutaneous melanoma. Sixty-six patients, median age 50 (18-77) years, met the inclusion criteria and were studied. Short-term complications were analysed retrospectively, while long-term complications were evaluated using volume measurement and range of motion measurement of the lower extremities.


Fifty-two patients underwent SLNB alone (SLNB group) and 14 patients underwent completion groin dissection after tumour-positive SLNB (SLNB/GD group). Morbidity after SLNB alone: wound infections (n=1), seroma (n=1), postoperative bleeding (n=1), erysipelas (n=1), and slight lymphedema 6% (n=3). Morbidity after SLNB/GD: wound infections (n=4), seroma (n=1), wound necrosis (n=1), postoperative bleeding (n=1), and slight lymphedema 64% (n=9). There were differences between the two groups in the total number of short-term complications (p<0.001), volume difference (p<0.001), flexion (p=0.009), and abduction (p=0.011) limitation of the hip joint.


Inguinal SLNB is accompanied with a low complication rate. However, SLNB followed by groin dissection is associated with an increased risk of wound infection and slight lymphedema.

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