Prognostic Significance and Management of Sentinel Nodes in the Triangular Intermuscular Space of Patients with Melanoma.

Schoenfeldt T, Thompson JF, Lo S, Drzewiecki KT, Stretch J, Saw RPM, Spillane A, Shannon K, Uren RF, Chakera AH, Nieweg OE. Ann Surg Oncol. 2022 Dec 3. doi: 10.1245/s10434-022-12840-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36463358.



The clinical significance of sentinel nodes (SNs) in the triangular intermuscular space (TIS) of patients with melanoma is poorly understood. This study aimed to determine their incidence and positivity rate, and to report their management and patient outcomes.


This was a single-institution retrospective cohort study of patients with unilateral or bilateral TIS SNs on lymphoscintigraphy treated between 1992 and 2017. Recurrence-free survival was analyzed.


Lymphoscintigraphy identified TIS SNs in 266 patients. They were bilateral in 17 patients. Of the 2296 patients with a melanoma on the upper back, 259 (11%) had TIS SNs. Procurement of SNs was not attempted in 122 (43%) of the 283 cases and failed in 11 cases (7%). An SN was successfully retrieved from the TIS in 145 patients (53%) and contained metastasis in 18 of 150 TIS SNs. This was the only positive SN in 12 patients (8%), upstaging all of them. Of the 18 patients with a positive SN in the TIS, 9 (50%) underwent completion axillary lymph node dissection, but no additional involved nodes were found in any of these patients. Recurrence in the TIS was observed in six patients (5%), none of whom had their TIS SN surgically pursued previously.


Lymphoscintigraphy showed TIS SNs in 11% of patients with melanomas on their upper back. In such cases, retrieval of TIS SNs is required for accurate staging and to minimize the risk of TIS recurrence.