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Lymph Node Biopsy

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Lymph Node Biopsy Procedure in MRC Nagar, Chennai

What is a Biopsy?

A biopsy is a recently developed test procedure in which the medical practitioner extracts a few cells, tissues, or small parts of the organ to conduct investigations. The test helps in determining the possibility of a disease or its extent. In addition, a biopsy helps in testing the body parts where traditional testing becomes impossible.

One such example is lymph nodes. Lymph nodes or lymph glands are a part of the body's third line of defense against pathogens and other infections. However, if a bacterial pathogen happens to cross the first and the second line of defense and enters the bloodstream, these glands enlarge in response.

What is Lymph Node Biopsy?

Lymph node biopsy is a test to detect the possible bacterial invasion in the body. These oval-shaped nodes are present under the skin around vital organs. When your body suffers some infection, these nodes are found swollen as a response. Your general physician will prescribe a lymph node biopsy to rule out other chronic infections, immunity disorders, or cancerous growth.

It is an outpatient procedure, and the doctor will take a piece of the tissue or remove the entire lymph node. These samples are then sent to the pathology department for conducting tests. There are multiple ways of conducting a biopsy; among them, three ways used for lymph node biopsy are:

  • Needle biopsy - In this procedure, the doctor will insert a specialized sterile needle and draw a sample of cells for examination.
  • Open biopsy - It is a minor surgical process in which the surgeon will take a piece of the node or extract the entire node for conducting tests on it. The doctor will numb the area with local anesthesia, and the whole process completes within an hour. You may experience mild pain for 10 to 14 days while the incision wound heals.
  • Sentinel biopsy - This is a specialized biopsy conducted to examine the cancerous mass and its direction of growth. The doctor will insert a special tracer dye in the region where cancerous growth is anticipated in the procedure. This dye will travel and mark the adjacent lymph nodes to extract and send to laboratories for tests.

Risk Factors Associated with Lymph Node Biopsy

Lymph node biopsy is a straightforward procedure with minimum risk. The entire process completes within a few hours of reaching the medical facility, and you can go home on the same day. Some rare complications that are associated with a biopsy are -

  • Infection at the site of the incision
  • The numbness caused by nerve damage in the region
  • Mild pain in the region
  • Excessive bleeding

How to Prepare for a Lymph Node Biopsy?

Your doctor will guide you in advance regarding the specific guidelines and instructions to follow before the test. It is advisable to share your medications' details or specific health conditions with your doctor before the process. In addition, it is best if you take a healthy diet and drink ample liquids a few days in advance. You may be asked to come empty stomach on the day of the biopsy. Further, avoid using external chemicals like body sprays, lotions, and talcum powder 24 to 48 hours before the test.

What to Expect from the Lymph Node Biopsy?

The entire process takes 3-4 hours, and you are free to go back home on the same day. However, it is advisable to avoid strenuous physical activity until complete recovery, taking 2-4 weeks. If you experience any localized swelling, pain, or discharge that continues beyond 48 hours, you should discuss this with your health provider.

Possible Results of the Lymph Node Biopsy

A lymph node biopsy can point towards one of these things:

  • Immunological disorders like HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as syphilis, chlamydia
  • Bacterial infections like tuberculosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, cat scratch fever
  • Cancerous growth, in which case the doctor will prescribe other conclusive tests to understand the condition better and make an informed decision accordingly

When to See a Doctor?

If you notice unexplained swollen lumps on your body that are not sensitive to touch, then it might be a symptom of some infection in the body. Some other warning signs to keep in mind are -

  • No change in general health
  • Swollen lumps are hard to touch
  • Lumps continue to grow
  • Persistent fever that subsides temporarily with medication only
  • Unexplained weight loss

These symptoms point towards an underlying infection, and you must consult a general physician near you before the symptoms aggravate further.

Request an appointment at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, MRC Nagar, Chennai

Call 1860 500 2244 to book an appointment.


Lymph node biopsy is a safe and reliable process used for diagnostic purposes to determine the underlying infections in the body. It also helps in the early detection of cancer and subsequent treatment. While the procedure appears alarming, a biopsy is comparatively risk-free and mostly non-invasive.





Is the biopsy painful?

In most cases, a biopsy is a pain-free process. However, you might experience pain 24-48 hours after the procedure in some specific type of biopsy. You can take an over-the-counter pain killer to subside the pain.

Are the biopsy results reliable?

Yes, the test results have an exceedingly high accuracy rate and are reliable in diagnosing the underlying cause and type of infection in an individual.

Does biopsy mean I have cancer?

No, lymph node biopsy is performed to conduct various genetic and immunological tests on the sample. It helps in understanding the overall health of the individual. One of the diseases for which it is done is cancer as well.


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