Lymphadenectomy, also known as lymph node dissection, is a surgical procedure to remove lymph glands so they can be viewed under a microscope and tested for signs of cancer. A lymphadenectomy is designed to determine whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
A limited, or regional, lymphadenectomy removes some but not all of the lymph nodes in the area surrounding the tumor. In a total or radical lymphadenectomy, most or all of the lymph nodes in the area are removed.
Lymph nodes produce and store blood cells, and act as filters that help fight disease and infection. Lymph nodes, also known as lymph glands, remove cell waste and fluids from the lymph (lymphatic fluid) and store lymphocytes (white blood cells). Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, located throughout the body, including the neck, armpits, abdomen and groin. Some lymph nodes are located near the surface of the skin, while others are located deep in the abdomen or around organs, such as the heart or liver.