In some patients the skin cancer and penile or scrotum cancer would have spread to lymph nodes also. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is the procedure used to find whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes. The only cure for this cancer is the removal of the entire lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes are beans shaped small organs distributed throughout the body. So if your groin or penis is having cancer, the surgeon will remove the lymph nodes in the junction of the thigh with your body, after confirming whether these nodes have been affected by cancer. Even if the lymph nodes are not affected by cancer he may remove it to understand how much the cancer has spread so that he can chart the future course of action to handle the cancer.
The removal of lymphatic nodes was done previously in open surgery. But with the advancement of medical technology, the surgery for removal lymphatic nodes is now done as laparoscopic surgery. This is a minimal invasive surgery. As the incisions are very minimal the loss of blood and the period of recovery are also very small.
If the cancer is widely spread, the removal of all lymphatic nodes near the groin will be necessitated. Lymphatic nodes near the groin are located at the joining place of the thighs to the human body. For this surgery three to four incisions are made in the femoral triangle of the human body. Through one of these incisions a laparoscope inserted. Laparoscope is an instrument in which a camera and a light source are connected on one end of a tube, the other end of which is connected to a monitor placed before the surgeon. Through other three small incisions the robotic arms or instruments needed to conduct the surgery are inserted. The surgeon performs the surgery remotely controlling the instruments or operating the robot by seeing the videos of the surgery through the monitor.
Before surgery the surgeon will explain you about the procedure that is going to be done. He may also ask you to stop smoking if you are a smoker as smoking will increase the possibility of chest and wound infection.
Usually removal of lymph nodes is done under general anesthesia. You are expected not to eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to the fixed time for the surgery. You will be required to sign a consent letter. You will also be asked to wear compression stockings to prevent the clotting of blood in your legs.