BACKGROUND: We sought to evaluate the utilization of blue dye in addition to radioisotope and its relative contribution to sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping at a high-volume institution.
METHODS: Using a prospectively maintained database, 3,402 breast cancer patients undergoing SLN mapping between 2002 and 2006 were identified. Trends in utilization of blue dye and results of SLN mapping were assessed through retrospective review. Statistical analysis was performed with Student t test and chi-square analysis.
RESULTS: 2,049 (60.2%) patients underwent mapping with dual technique, and 1,353 (39.8%) with radioisotope only. Blue dye use decreased gradually over time (69.8% in 2002 to 48.3% in 2006, p
CONCLUSIONS: Blue dye use has decreased with increasing institutional experience with SLN mapping. In patients with adequate radioactive counts in the axilla, blue dye is unlikely to improve the success of sentinel node mapping.
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