Home
Search in�� ��for��
 
Resources
Career Center
New Hospital Update
Learn More About MCI
Bill Payment
Upcoming Events
Find a Physician
Press Releases
Maps and Directions
Visiting Hours
Medical Services
Specialty Programs and Services
Volunteer Services
H2U
Birthing Center Tours
Clinics
Family Care of Eastern Jackson County
Jackson County Medical Group
Family & Friends
Virtual Body
Virtual Cheercards
Web Babies
Decision Tools
Self-Assessment Tools
Natural and Alternative Treatments Main Index
Health Sources
Cancer InDepth
Heart Care Center
HealthDay News
Wellness Centers
Aging and Health
Alternative Health
Sports and Fitness
Food and Nutrition
Men's Health
Mental Health
Kids' and Teens' Health
Healthy Pregnancy
Medications
Travel and Health
Women's Health
Genus MD
Genus MD
Physician Websites
Legal Disclaimers
Nondiscrimination
Privacy Notice



Send This Page To A Friend
Print This Page

Lymph Node Biopsy

(Biopsy, Lymph Node)

 

Definition

Lymph nodes are found throughout the body. They are part of the body’s immune system. These nodes help fight infection by producing special white blood cells. They also work by trapping bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Normally, lymph nodes cannot be felt unless they are swollen. Infection, usually by a virus, is the most common cause of lymph node swelling. Other causes include bacterial infection and cancer.

With this type of biopsy, the doctor removes all or part of a lymph node so it can be further examined.

 

Reasons for Procedure    TOP

This biopsy is done to find out why a node is swollen. Swelling may be caused by infection, cancer, or another disease such as sarcoidosis.

Common areas for biopsy include:

  • Groin
  • Armpit
  • Neck
  • Under the jaw and chin
  • Behind the ears
 

Possible Complications    TOP

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Nerve damage, including numbness at the biopsy site, which usually resolves in a few months
 

What to Expect    TOP

Prior to Procedure

Leading up to your procedure, you will need to:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medical history, including:
    • Any allergies that you have
    • Any medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs and herbs and supplements. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
  • Arrange for a ride home from the care center.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight if you will have general anesthesia.

Anesthesia

  • Local anesthesia—Just the area that is being operated on is numbed.
  • General anesthesia is used for open biopsies—General anesthesia blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the procedure.

Description of the Procedure    TOP

Lymph nodes samples can be obtained by:

  • Needle biopsy
  • Open biopsy

Needle Biopsy

There are 2 types of needle biopsies:

  • Fine needle biopsy —A thin, hollow needle is used to obtain tissue samples.
  • Core needle biopsy—A larger needle is used to cut out a piece of tissue.

An ultrasound or CT scan may be used to help locate the biopsy site.

Lymph Node Biopsy

Nucleus factsheet image

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Open Biopsy

An open biopsy means removing the lymph nodes through an incision. A cut will be made in the skin. All or part of a lymph node will be removed. After removal, the incision will be closed with stitches and bandaged.

Immediately After Procedure    TOP

The sample will be sent to the lab for examination.

How Long Will It Take?    TOP

About 30-60 minutes—longer if an ultrasound or CT scan is used

How Much Will It Hurt?    TOP

You will have some pain and tenderness after the biopsy is taken. Your doctor may give you pain medication.

Post-procedure Care    TOP

Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. Results will be ready in about a week. Your doctor will tell you if further treatment is needed.

 

Call Your Doctor    TOP

Call your doctor if any of these occur:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
  • New or unexpected symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES:

American Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
https://www.cancer.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.ca

Cancer Care Ontario
https://www.cancercare.on.ca

REFERENCES:

Sentinel lymph node biopsy. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/diagnosis-staging/staging/sentinel-node-biopsy-fact-sheet. Updated August 11, 2011. Accessed April 17, 2018.

Testing biopsy and cytology specimens for cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/tests/testing-biopsy-and-cytology-specimens-for-cancer.html. Accessed April 17, 2018.



Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Last Updated: 3/18/2013

Health References
Health Conditions
Therapeutic Centers


Copyright � 1999-2007
ehc.com; All rights reserved.
Terms & Conditions of Use
Privacy Statement
Medical Center of Independence
17203 E. 23rd St.
Independence,� MO� 64057
Telephone: (816) 478-5000