A lymph node biopsy is an examination of lymph fluid and tissue under a microscope for infections.

The three main methods that doctors use to obtain lymph nodes test samples from patients are fine needle aspiration, core needle biopsy, and open surgery.

During a lymph node biopsy examination, doctors may also perform culture and genetic testing and immune system analysis. Of course, additional testing would be necessary to avoid misdiagnosis and to detect other infections that may be present in the body.


Before you get a lymph node biopsy, you should do the following:

  • Disclose to your doctor of any medications you are currently taking.
  • Tell your doctor about any drug allergies you have.
  • Inform your doctor about your medical history, including any conditions you have.
  • Sign a surgical consent form only after you have read and understood its content.
  • Do not eat or drink heavily before the biopsy.
  • Avoid medications such as Warfarin, Aspirin, or other anticoagulants at least a week before the procedure.

After the procedure, you should do the following:

  • Swallow painkillers to ease inflammation around the biopsy site.
  • Use an ice pack to relieve swelling and pain around the wound.
  • Avoid heavy work after the procedure to allow healing.

More Information – Sentinel Node Biopsy


  • Inform your doctor if tenderness around the lymph node persists for over a week because it may be due to an allergic reaction to the imaging dye.
  • Visit a healthcare center if there is swelling, bleeding, or pus emanating from the injected area because it may be due to infection.
  • Inform a medical practitioner if the numbness persists around the injected spot. In most cases, anesthesia can result from nerve damage.
  • Since misdiagnosis is possible with this procedure, you should get a second opinion after a month or two.

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A lymph node biopsy is relatively safe and usually takes a short time to perform. Nevertheless, it is an essential procedure since it helps to identify infection in the body. For cancer patients, it helps their doctors to determine the progress of the disease, and consequently guide their treatment decisions.