Support Surgery Research 1.877.262.4628 Text Size

Lymph Node Dissection

Your surgeon has recommended a lymph node dissection because your sentinel node(s) were positive for cancer.

The number of lymph nodes removed depends on the individual person and where the tumor is located on the body, such as the groin, armpit, or neck. In this surgery, an area of tissue containing lymph nodes, called a fat pad, is removed, the lymph nodes are not removed individually. When the pathologist reviews the tissue the lymph nodes will be counted and reviewed individually to look for cancer cells. Some patients have no more cancer cells than the positive sentinel node.

Post Operatively

  • Remaining tissues tend to leak some lymph fluid when the lymph nodes are removed, a drain is left in place, for the first 2-3 weeks after the operation, or until the area heals. Please refer to additional JP Drain Post-Operative Instructions.
  • The JP Drain can be removed when the total drainage is less than 30 ccs each day for 2 days in a row.
  • You may remove the gauze dressing held by tape 48 hours after the procedure.
  • You may not shower until your drains are out for 48 hours.
  • Keep the incision clean and dry. Avoid use of lotions, antibiotics ointment, creams, powders, or healing gels on the incision area. It is best to allow it to heal on its own. Please refer to additional Suture Care Post-Operative Instructions.
  • Surgical areas are held together with staples and are generally removed 14-21 days post-operatively.
  • You can anticipate mild numbness to the surgical area. Temporary limitations in movement of the involved limb after surgery.

Special Instructions for Inguinal Lymph Node Dissection Surgery

Your leg will be more prone to swelling. It is common to experience some swelling in the first few days after surgery. To reduce swelling, you should elevate you leg above the level of your heart throughout the day as well as at night until your postoperative clinic appointment. You should avoid placing your leg in a downward (dependent) position for any extended amount of time. It is important to wear compression to the affected extremity to reduce swelling.

For Medical Questions, Please Call:

  • (734) 998-6022, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • After hours and on weekends, call Hospital Paging at (734) 936-6267 and ask for the Plastic Surgeon on call.