Difference between Sentinel and Axillary Lymph Nodes

Sentinel Lymph Nodes

Sentinel lymph nodes is a type of lymph gland that drains cancer cells. Cancer first spreads in the lymph gland and then proceeds in an orderly fashion. This is due to the directional flow of the lymph. The biopsy of sentinel nodes is vital to determine the spread of cancer. If the biopsy reads negative, it is likely that the cancer cells have not spread to the lymph node. In case of a positive result, it also shows the cancerous lymph area that needs to be removed.

Axillary Lymph Nodes

These are lymph glands located in the armpit of humans. It drains lymph from the wall of the chest, breast, upper abdomen and upper limb. They are also clinically vital to identify the presence of breast cancer. The presence of cancer cells in this node will increase the chance of metastatic breast cancer.

Difference between Sentinel and Axillary Lymph Nodes

Sentinel Lymph Nodes

Axillary Lymph Nodes

It is the first lymph node that drains cancer cells.

It is a lymph node located in the armpit of humans.

The biopsy of this node is considered as an initial evaluation for cancer.

The biopsy of this node can disrupt normal tissues, and thus it is not done prior to sentinel node biopsy.

Biopsy of sentinel nodes does not cause lymphedema.

Biopsy of axillary nodes causes lymphedema.

Explore: Difference between Blood and Lymph

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lymph gland?

It is a kidney-shaped gland of the lymphatic system. The lymph glands or nodes are interlinked through lymphatic vessels. This gland is a vital part in eliciting an immune response.

What is lymph node biopsy?

Lymph node biopsy is a clinical examination done to analyse the swelling in the lymph node area. It determines whether the swelling is non-cancerous or cancerous. The surgical removal of sample tissue from the node is termed an open biopsy. Sometimes the sample is obtained by inserting a needle into the target node. This is called needle biopsy.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is the localised swelling of tissue due to infection or obstruction in the lymphatic system. It might be an inherited condition or caused due to damage to lymphatic vessels.

Also Read: Composition and Function of Lymph in Humans

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