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Lymph Node Biopsy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about a lymph node biopsy?

Lymph nodes are tiny round organs that help trap and fight infection. A biopsy is a procedure to remove all or part of a lymph node. After a lymph node is removed, it can be tested for infection, cancer, and other medical conditions. The results of these tests can help your healthcare provider decide if you need more tests or treatments.

How do I prepare for a lymph node biopsy?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your biopsy. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your biopsy. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your biopsy. You may need to stop taking blood thinners or aspirin several days before your biopsy. You may be given contrast liquid or need MRI pictures during your biopsy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the biopsy room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you after your biopsy.

What will happen during a lymph node biopsy?

The type of biopsy may depend on the location of the lymph node or nodes to be removed.

What will happen after a lymph node biopsy?

Healthcare providers will monitor you until you are awake. You may be able to go home when you are awake and your pain is controlled. You may have swelling and bruising at the biopsy site. This is normal and expected.

What are the risks of a lymph node biopsy?

You may develop an infection or bleed more than expected. Nerves may be damaged during the biopsy. You may have swelling (lymphedema) if a group of lymph nodes are removed. This swelling may be permanent.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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