| If a suspicious mole has been removed and the pathology results have diagnosed it to be Malignant Melanoma the surgeon may suggest that you undergo Sentinel Node Biopsy surgery, a relatively new method of checking for lymphatic spread of cancer cells.
Sentinel node biopsy is performed to ascertain if the lymph node nearest to the melanoma has cancer cells within it. If this lymph node is clear, it's unlikely that cancer has spread farther away. If there is cancer in the nearest node, the other nodes can then be removed. Doctors hope that removing nodes with cancer will halt the spread of cancer cells around the body.
A chemical is injected around the site of the melanoma. When the chemical reaches the lymph nodes, it makes them glow in pictures taken by special cameras. The lymph node that the chemical reaches first shows as brightest.