The surgical importance of an axillary arch in sentinel node biopsy.

Surgical and radiologic anatomy : SRA

PubMedID: 20811892

Ridgway PF, Collins AM, McCready DR. The surgical importance of an axillary arch in sentinel node biopsy. Surg Radiol Anat. 2011;33(2):147-9.
PURPOSE
When Carl Langer described the aberrant axillary arch in 1846 its relevance in sentinel node biopsy (SNB) surgery could not have been contemplated. The authors define an incidence and elucidate relevance of the arch in SNB of the axilla.

METHODS
A review of a database for breast and melanoma axillary SNB was carried out. The sample was 1 year at Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto.

RESULTS
Of 319 axillary SNB, 3 (0.9%) had axillary arches noted. Two were in the melanoma group (n = 59) and one in the breast (n = 260). Interestingly one arch case had an ipsilateral 'idiopathic' axillary vein thrombosis as a child.

CONCLUSIONS
The authors see no reason to deviate from the practice of division of the arch at the highest level when recognised at SNB. This would abrogate the risk of concealed nodes and possible future neurovascular compression.