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Lymph Node Biopsy

How To Prepare continued...

If a lymph node biopsy will be done under local anesthesia, you do not need to do anything else to prepare for the biopsy.

If the biopsy will be done under general anesthesia, follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, do so using only a sip of water. An intravenous line (IV) will be put in your arm, and a sedative medicine will be given before the biopsy. Arrange for someone to drive you home if you are going to have general anesthesia or will be given a sedative.

Other tests, such as blood tests or X-rays, may be done before the lymph node biopsy.

How It Is Done

Fine-needle aspiration biopsy

A needle biopsy of a lymph node near the skin is usually done by a hematologist, a radiologist, or a general surgeon. A needle biopsy of a lymph node deeper within the body is usually done by a radiologist using a CT scan or ultrasound to help guide the needle. The biopsy may be done in a surgery clinic or the hospital.

You may need to take off all or some of your clothes. If needed, you will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the biopsy.

Your doctor numbs the area where the needle will be inserted. Once the area is numb, the needle is put through the skin camera.gif and into the lymph node. You must lie still while the biopsy is done. The biopsy sample is sent to a lab to be looked at under a microscope.

The needle is then removed. Pressure is put on the needle site to stop any bleeding. A bandage is put on. A fine-needle aspiration biopsy takes about 5 to 15 minutes.

Core needle biopsy

A core needle biopsy camera.gif is usually done by a general surgeon or radiologist.

You may need to take off all or some of your clothes. If needed, you will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the biopsy.

Your doctor numbs the area where the needle will be inserted. Once the area is numb, a small cut is made in the skin. A needle with a special tip is put through the skin and into the lymph node. You must lie still while the biopsy is done.

The needle is then removed. Pressure is put on the needle site to stop any bleeding. A bandage is put on. A core needle biopsy takes about 20 minutes.

Open biopsy and lymph node dissection

An open biopsy of a lymph node camera.gif is done by a surgeon. For a lymph node near the surface of the skin, the biopsy site is numbed with local anesthetic. For a lymph node deeper in the body or for lymph node dissection, you may have general anesthesia.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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