How It Is Done continued...
See a picture of a
core needle lymph node biopsy .
Open biopsy and lymph node dissection
biopsy of a lymph node 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
You will need to take off all or most of your clothes
(you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not interfere with the
biopsy). You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the biopsy.
Your hands may be at your sides or raised above your head (depending on which
position makes it easiest to find the lymph node).
You will lie on
an examining table and the skin over the biopsy site will be cleaned with a
special soap. The area is covered with a sterile sheet. A small cut will be
made so the whole lymph node or a slice of it can be taken out.
Stitches are used to close the skin, and a bandage is put on. You will be
taken to a recovery room until you are fully awake. You can usually return to
your normal activities the next day.
An open biopsy usually takes
from 30 to 60 minutes. If you have had a lymph node dissection to remove
cancer, the surgery may take longer.
See a picture of an
open lymph node biopsy .
How It Feels
You will feel only a quick sting from
the needle if you have a local anesthesia to numb the biopsy area. You may feel
some pressure when the biopsy needle is put in. After a fine-needle aspiration
biopsy or core needle biopsy, the site may be tender for 2 to 3 days. You also
may have a bruise around the site.
If you have general anesthesia
for an open lymph node biopsy, you will not be awake during the biopsy. After
you wake up, the area may be numb from a local anesthetic that was put into the
biopsy site. You will also feel sleepy for several hours.
For 1 to
2 days after an open lymph node biopsy, you may feel tired. You may also have a
mild sore throat if a tube was used to help you breathe during the biopsy.
Using throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water may help with the sore
After an open biopsy, the area may feel tender, firm,
swollen, and bruised. Fluid may collect near the biopsy site. Fluid may
also leak from the biopsy site. You can use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter pain medicine (not aspirin) to help relieve swelling and mild pain. The tenderness should go away in
about a week, and the bruising usually fades within 2 weeks. But the firmness
and swelling may last for 6 to 8 weeks. Do not do any heavy lifting or other
activities that stretch or pull the muscles around the area.