Aims and background. The aim of this study was to evaluate the routine use of scalene lymph node dissection to determine the degree of disease spread in women with stage IIB-IVA cervical cancer treated at our hospital. Methods and study design: Patients with locally advanced cervical carcinoma underwent para-aortic lymph node dissection via the extraperitoneal approach. Patients with clinical evidence of scalene or supraclavicular node metastasis were excluded. If their para-aortic nodes were tumor-positive, patients underwent scalene lymph node dissection. Results: Twenty-eight scalene lymph node samplings were performed. Three patients had microscopically positive scalene lymph nodes (10.7%). In one patient the thoracic duct was injured. Conclusion: Patients with cervical carcinoma whose only extrapelvic site of metastases is the para-aortic lymph nodes may be eligible for scalene lymph node dissection as part of their pretreatment assessment, especially if extended field radiation is considered.