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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


FREGNANI, José Humberto Tavares Guerreiro  and  MACEA, José Rafael. Lymphatic Drainage of the Breast: from Theory to Surgical Practice. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2009, vol.27, n.3, pp.873-878. ISSN 0717-9502.

Until recently, complete removal of axillary lymph nodes was performed as part of the treatment of breast cancer. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in selected cases has reduced the number of cases of wide axillary dissection and the related morbidity. Knowledge of breast lymphatic drainage is essential for understanding the principles behind SLNB and also for performing safe and correct axillary lymphonodectomy. This paper describes in detail the anatomical issues relating to breast lymphatic drainage and the correlated axillary and extra-axillary lymph nodes. In addition, it shows the application of this theoretical knowledge to surgical practice, especially with regard to SLNB and lymphonodectomy. The surgical nomenclature is compared with the current International Anatomical Terminology.

Keywords : Lymphatic drainage; Sentinel lymph node biopsy; Breast cancer.

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