Lymph Node Biopsy
A lymph node Reference biopsy Opens New Window removes Reference lymph node tissue Opens New Window to be looked at under a microscope for signs of infection or a disease, such as cancer. Other tests may also be used to check the lymph tissue sample, including a Reference culture Opens New Window, genetic tests, or tests to study the body's Reference immune system Opens New Window (immunological tests).
Lymph nodes are part of the immune system. They are found in the neck, behind the ears, in the armpits, and in the chest, belly, and groin. See a picture of Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window and of the Reference immune system Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
Lymph nodes in healthy people are usually hard to feel. But lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin can get bigger and become tender. Swollen lymph nodes usually mean an infection, but the swelling can also be caused by a cut, scratch, insect bite, tattoo, a drug reaction, or cancer.
There are several ways to do a lymph node biopsy. The lymph node sample will be looked at under a microscope for problems.
- Fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Your doctor inserts a thin needle into a lymph node and removes a sample of cells.
- Core needle biopsy. Your doctor inserts a needle with a special tip and removes a sample of tissue about the size of a grain of rice.
- Open (surgical) biopsy. Your doctor will make a small cut in the skin and remove a lymph node. If more than one lymph node is taken, the biopsy is called a lymph node dissection. Open biopsy and lymph node dissection let your doctor take a bigger sample than a needle biopsy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 29, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference C. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS - General Surgery