A lymph node is an organ that makes up part of the body’s lymphatic system, which helps rid the body of toxins and waste. These small structures are found in various locations throughout the body. When a patient develops an infection, cancer, or another condition that involves the immune system, lymph nodes may swell and become more noticeable. Certain conditions can also cause lymph nodes to become tender.
Dr. Menken may perform a lymph node biopsy when a lymph node is enlarged for an unknown reason. The purpose of the biopsy is to rule out cancerous conditions and learn more about the enlarged node.
Lymph node excision may be necessary if cancer is suspected or present. Removing cancerous lymph nodes and/or nearby nodes can reduce the risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. In addition, in cases where lymph nodes become permanently enlarged and disfiguring, patients may opt for lymph node excision for cosmetic purposes.
During a lymph node biopsy, Dr. Menken uses surgical tools to collect a small sample of tissue from one or more lymph nodes. Depending on the number of biopsies taken and the location of the lymph nodes, Dr. Menken may or may not administer general anesthesia for this procedure.
During the lymph node excision procedure, Dr. Menken makes an incision and removes lymph nodes from the body entirely. Because this procedure is more extensive, patients are often placed under general anesthesia.
Like most surgical procedures, lymph node biopsy or excision procedures put patients at risk of bleeding, developing infections, or having a bad reaction to anesthesia. Patients may also experience scarring, bruising, and pain after the surgery. In rare cases, surrounding tissue may be damaged during this procedure.
If a lymph node is found to be cancerous, Dr. Menken will refer the patient to an appropriate oncologist for treatment. Treatment may include additional surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and other therapies.
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