Sentinel node biopsy - painful?

I’m going in tomorrow for radioactive imaging of sentinel nodes, followed by the dye imaging and mastectomy on Wednesday 9th.
Anyone had this done and is the first one tomorrow painful? I’m expecting to be out for the count for the dye injection the next day!
I’m not sure if this double imaging is the standard procedure or is because I’ve already had some lymph nodes out fifteen years ago when I had breast cancer first time round - this is a new one.


Dear Lyn

You are welcome to give our helpliners a call in the morning they are specialist breast care nurses and they will be able to offer you information and support. The number is 0808 800 6000 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm.
Best wishes


Had this procedure on 10 Dec 07 - stings a bit a tad worse than anesthetic then you need to massage the radiation in the better you massage the better the result! The nurse turned the screen so that I could watch it moving through the lymph nodes, not painful apart from injection, relaxing really.

Hope this helps

Karen 1 to 3 of 3

Hi Lyn. Hope this will reach you before you go into hospital. I had just the same as you in November (ie the radioactive imaging and then the dye). My surgeon said he prefers to use both as it really does help with locating the sentinel node accurately. I was lucky, as just had to have the sentinel node and one other removed. I did find when they injected the radioactive material around my nipple and tumour that was slightly eye watering, but just lasted a few seconds. The rest is entirely painless, you just lie under the scanner and can see the nodes light up like a rather pretty night sky! One thing might be worth mentioning if you have not already heard is that after the op you will have blue wee to start with, and you may have a bluish tinge to your face for a few hours, good to know this and warn loved ones who might want to reach for the oxygen for you if they don’t know this is quite normal! Very best of luck and do let us know how you are when you get home. Will be thinking of you. Sarah x

Thanks to you both for the reassurance! I’m back - and you’re right, a bit eye-watering is all. Anticipation was far worse - it’s the thought of sticking needles in a such a tender bit! (And knowing that on the mammogram on that breast, they always say “this will be a bit uncomfortable” when they mean “start gritting your teeth now”)

Hi Lyndu - That’s another bit done then! Well done! Good luck for your surgery - do hope you will soon be out of hospital and please do let us know how you get on. I’ll be thinking of you. Love Sarah x

Had surgery yesterday and got out the same evening - lymph nodes seem to be clear, so only one drain. Nurse will come in daily to check on the drain for the next week - much better than staying in hospital, I’m just so pleased to be home and able to potter around at my own speed!

Fantastic that you got home so soon Lyn, and great news about the lymph nodes. We are so lucky to have been able to benefit from the sentinel node sampling. Take things easy this next few days and hope your recovery is straightforward and you are soon feeling well again. Love Sarah

Well done in getting home so soon, I had my op on the thursday and wasnt allowed home until the monday, I was so tired from trying to sleep on my back in those awful beds and friends said make the most of the rest!

Take Care