Side effects of lymph node surgery include fluid buildup at the site of the surgery, infection, swelling, numbness and tingling, according to WebMD. Pain at the site of the surgical area and sloughing of the skin also may occur.
Lymph node surgery helps to see if cancer from another place in the body has gone into the lymph nodes, explains WebMD. Some lymph nodes are near the surface of the skin, but others are deep within the body or near organs such as the liver or heart. This surgery is also done to remove melanoma that has gone into the lymph nodes or to help prevent melanoma from spreading throughout the body.
Those who have to have lymph node surgery go under general anesthesia, states WebMD. The individual receives an incision over the location of the lymph nodes, and the depth and type of the incision varies depending on the location of the lymph nodes. In addition to removing the lymph nodes, the removal of nearby tissue and underlying tissue also occurs. This surgery may cure some instances of melanoma but only if the cancer has gone into nearby lymph nodes and no further. The removal of the lymph nodes is usually not done unless the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes.