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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

What do I need to know about lymphoscintigraphy?

Lymphoscintigraphy is a procedure to look at your lymphatic system. It identifies the first lymph node that receives drainage from your tumor site. This is called a sentinel node. The sentinel node tells healthcare providers if your cancer has spread. Lymphoscintigraphy can show if a blockage in your lymphatic system is causing lymphedema. It also helps your healthcare provider plan surgery or other treatments you may need. Lymphoscintigraphy may be done before surgery or during surgery.

How do I prepare for lymphoscintigraphy?

Do not enter the scintigraphy room with metal. Metal will interfere with the images. Tell your healthcare provider and technician if you think or know you are pregnant. Tell them if you are breastfeeding.

What will happen during lymphoscintigraphy?

A radioactive material (radiotracer) may be injected in multiple areas. It may be injected around your tumor, or between your fingers and toes. The location of the injection depends on the reason for the procedure. A gamma camera or PET scanner will be used to obtain pictures of the radiotracer. You will be asked to stay as still as possible while the pictures are being taken. The camera may circle around you, or you may be asked to change positions. The camera may need to be very close to your body to get clear pictures. Lymphoscintigraphy may take several hours.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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