sentinal node biopsy

Hi there, newly diagnosed and still reeling. Can anyone tell me about the snb procedure. Had a wle but got to have it again as no clear margins, also the snb? Then another 10 day wait for results - is it always sooooooo long?

am so sorry that you are going through this- the waiting for results is always difficult (and the time varies from hospital to hospital I think)
With the SNB you’ll have an injection of the radioactive material into your breast and then the blue dye is injected once you are under the anaesthetic. The scar is a bit uncomfortable afterwards really because it’s under your arm and can rub and will be a bit swollen. Your wee will be an amusing turquoise too for a bit ! The injection of radioactive material can be a bit stingy but really it’s all ok. Wishing you lots of luck xxchipperxx

I had only the blue dye and not the radioactive stuff. I think it varies from one place to another.

Before my op (wle & snb at the same time) I was told it would take 2 weeks for the pathology results to come back. Then when I went for my check a week after surgery the results were already there. When you get the results probably also ties in with the day team meetings and the clinic is held and I suppose it could be possible that your results are ready the day after the clinic and you end up waiting until the next one.

Like chipper says, being under your arm it can be a bit uncomfortable and it is important to do the exercises you get given or you can end up with a stiff arm/shoulder.

Good luck for clear margins and nodes.

Eliza xx

I also only had the blue dye. My scar has healed better than my WLE one however I had one very irritating side effect - super sensitive skin on my arm and back. I had to abandon wearing anything tight or woolly for 4 weeks. In fact I ended up buying some silk vests with sleeves to act as a barrier. It has got less over time but still a nuisance. Cannot stress enough though that you must keep up with the exercises (slowly and gently several times a day).

hi ive got my mnb tomorrow and wle and blue dye on tues, im really getting nervous and my emotions are all over the place. ive been to mass this morning and started blubbing as soon as they started singing!!!

sorry that should read SNB

try not to fret tippy - it’ll be fine - just tell yourself it’ll soon pass -thinking of you


Yes, the waiting each time is truly dreadful. I am so sorry you have to go back again.

Regarding the SNB, it seems to vary with each hospital. Mine has equipment to test part of the sentinel node during the WLE op. If it is clear, they do not remove any more lymph nodes, but if not, then they would clear them all at the same time. This saves having to go back for full axilary clearance at a later date.

Having said that, they do check the other part of the sentinel node in the lab afterwards, so if they found something in that part, you would have to go back and have the rest of the lymph nodes cleared.

I had the radioisotope injected on the morning of the op, and then blue dye during the op. As the others have said, the blue dye is quite amusing - it gets into everything!

Good luck!

Ann x

HSF - sorry you have had to join us and as others have said the waiting is the worst part. My SNB was done at the same time as the WLE. If they use the blue dye don’t be alarmed about the blue boob, I still have mine, 6 months after!! My SNB incision was more painful than the WLE incision, but that is because of where it is (under armpit). Both healed cleanly and nicely. I have just finished chemo am due to have full clearance on 18th Dec so unfortunately, SNB scar is to be re-opened, but better to get the nodes out! Best of luck

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who replied. I have found it so reassuring to know that others are experiencing the same emotions. Family and friends have been fantastic but don’t really know what to say. Had the radioactive stuff injected in today back to Frimley tomorrow for the second WLE and SNB.
Thanks again everyone!

Good luck for clear margins & nodes tomorrow!

Eliza xx

Good luck HSF!
ditto all the above advice re exercise and being careful. I bought some larger cup size bras without any lace and no underwire as i found my normal bras a bit uncomfortable with lace and the wire digging in. I had to go back for a second op to increase the safety margins but it all healed quite quickly and cleanly! I also used a roll on deoderant for a few weeks until it was completely healed so that I didnt accidently spray the scar site!
Keep us posted1
Karen xx

Hello I had SNB on 20th Nov glad I was warned about the change of colour(I went a greeny colour) and the blue wee! I am still waiting for the resultsspoke to my BCN on Friday want to ring again but she said she’d phone when they come in. Hope yours are back soon and are good news. Heth x