A positive intramammary lymph node does not mandate a complete axillary node dissection

Ricardo Diaz, Amy C. Degnim, Judy C. Boughey, Aziza Nassar, James W. Jakub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: We hypothesized that even in the face of a positive intramammary lymph node (IMLN) a negative axillary sentinel lymph node (SLN) reliably stages the axilla and complete axillary lymph node dissection (CALND) can be avoided. Methods: A literature search identified 386 publications that included IMLNs and SLN biopsies. Patients with a positive IMLN and negative axillary SLN who underwent a CALND were included. A review of our database was also performed. Results: Twenty-one cases in the literature met our criteria. A review of our database resulted in 2 additional cases. Twenty-three patients were identified who had a positive IMLN, negative axillary SLN biopsy, and underwent a CALND. In all cases, the CALND was negative. Conclusions: An axillary SLN biopsy accurately represents the disease status of the axilla in cases with a positive IMLN. CALND can be avoided in the setting of a positive IMLN and a negative axillary SLN biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-155
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Breast cancer
  • Complete node dissection
  • Intramammary lymph node
  • Intramammary sentinel lymph node
  • Sentinel lymph node
  • Staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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