The lymphadenectomy also known as lymph node dissection is a medical procedure to dissect single or multiple groups of lymph nodes that are expected to be carrying cancerous cells.

It is a less invasive operation compared to biopsies or removal of the lymph node. This procedure is performed by making a small incision to reach the lymph nodes by using a small tube with a light and camera.

The doctor will use the image from the camera to cut and retrieve tissue to exam.

Deciding on This Operation

Typically this procedure is used as part of the plans for cancer treatment management. Lymph node dissection allows the doctor to verify the precise grade and stage of cancer. When Lymphadenectomy is recommended to be implemented in the management, it can still be a difficult decision to select.

The following are a few topics you should discuss with your doctor before choosing the surgery.

  • Your Age – The age of the person with the chance of having Lymphadenectomy done is a huge factor if the doctor will proceed with the operation.
  • Sentinel Node Biopsy Results – It is the biopsy of the first lymph node to be expected to receive cancerous cells from the tumor. The point of sentinel node biopsy is to confirm if the node has cancer or not.
  • Other Probable Treatments – An alternative treatment is a laparoscopy; it is a less persistent procedure to remove the lymph nodes. Through a tiny incision the laparoscope, which is a thin light tube, is inserted into the stomach area. This procedure can only be performed on aortic and pelvic lymph nodes.

Testing For Cancer Cells

There are over 600 lymph nodes in the body, but only the ones closest to the tumor will need to be removed. In 2012, dye tests are done to map the flow of the fluid and determine which lymph node is the sentinel node, the one that most likely has cancer will travel to it first. This practice has reduced the number of lymph nodes that need to be removed for a biopsy to test for cancer cells.

The surgery varies depending on the location of cancer. Whenever possible, when a tumor is removed it will be tested immediately for cancer and if it is positive, the lymph nodes may be removed during the same procedure. When cancer is found in some lymph nodes after a lymphadenectomy, a second surgery may be necessary to determine if there are any other lymph nodes affected by cancer. Generally, the surgery to remove a lymph node lasts about 45 minutes. As with all surgeries, there are risks.

Get More Information – Lymph Node Cancer

Surgery And Health Risks After Removal

There are risks associated with removing lymph nodes. Some of them are from the surgery itself and some of them are from the absence of the nodes. Common surgery risks include adverse reactions to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, swelling, and pain. Having the surgery done by an experienced doctor can reduce the risks. It will also be important that your doctor knows your complete medical history. To prevent a serious infection like MRSA, proper wound care will be necessary.

Once the lymph nodes are surgically removed, the body will have missing links in the path that the lymph travels. Some of the health problems it can cause include the following

  • Increase the risk of infection
  • Lymph build-up (seroma) in the area where the node was removed
  • Fluid build up in limb (lymphoedema)

Having good personal hygiene, eating healthy, getting enough rest, and building a strong immune system are ways to prevent infection. Some ways to avoid the build-up of lymph include exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, gradually returning to normal activity, and avoiding sudden temperature changes.


Having the Lymphadenectomy (Lymphadenectomy – operation can cause additional negative health problems (like any operation), the benefits and information from the operation normally out ways the negative complications.