19 Dec Lymph Node biopsy
Lymph Node biopsy
During a lymph node biopsy, a tissue sample is removed from lymph nodes, which are found under the skin in areas such as the neck, armpit, and groin. The procedure is done to find the cause of swollen, or enlarged, nodes. Possible causes include infections, cancers in nearby areas, lymphoma, and leukaemia. The procedure is done under local or general anaesthetic. A tissue sample is removed either with a needle (needle biopsy) or by cutting (open biopsy).
What is it?
Lymph node biopsy is a surgical procedure where a tissue sample is removed from a lymph node. Lymph nodes form part of the immune system – they make a type of infection-fighting white blood cell called a lymphocyte. Lymph nodes are found under the skin in areas such as the neck, armpit, and groin.
The procedure can be done at your doctor’s rooms, but is more often performed in an operating theatre in a hospital.
Why is it done?
A lymph node biopsy is usually done to ascertain the cause of swollen, or enlarged, lymph nodes. Causes of enlarged lymph nodes include:
- Cancers in nearby areas
Before – how to prepare
You need to sign a consent form. The procedure is normally done using local anaesthetic, but if you are having a general anaesthetic you need to fast (eat and drink nothing) for 8 hours before.
During – how the test is done
You lie on an operating table while the skin over the lymph node (groin, neck, armpit, etc) is thoroughly cleaned. A local anaesthetic is injected under the skin (this may be a bit painful) to numb the area. The doctor will then remove some tissue in 1 of 2 ways:
- A needle biopsy uses a needle, pushed into the lymph node, to withdraw some fluid and tissue.
- An open biopsy involves making an incision over the lymph node and then excising all or part of the node. The incision is sutured closed.
After the test
You will have a dressing in place and will be advised to avoid excessive use of/movement of the area.
Risks and Compilations
There is a small risk of bleeding and an even smaller risk of infection. It is possible that nerves or blood vessels could be damaged although this is uncommon
During a lymph node biopsy, a tissue sample is removed from lymph nodes, which are found under the skin in areas such as the neck, armpit, and groin.
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