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    Lymph node culture

    Culture - lymph node

    Lymph node culture is a laboratory test done on a sample from a lymph nodeto identify germs that cause infection.

    How the Test is Performed

    A sample is needed froma lymph node. This may be done using a needle to draw out fluid (aspiration) or during a lymph node biopsy.

    The sample is sent to a laboratory where it is placed in a special dish and watched to see if bacteria, fungi, or viruses grow. This is called a culture. Sometimes special stains are also used to identify specific cells or microorganisms.

    If needle aspiration does not provide a good enough sample, the entire lymph node may be removed and sent for culture and other testing.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    There is no special preparation needed for the lab test. For information on how to prepare for the lymph node sample, see lymph node biopsy.

    How the Test Will Feel

    For information on how the removal of the lymph node sample may feel, see lymph node biopsy.

    Why the Test is Performed

    Your doctor may order this test if you have swollen glands and infection is suspected.

    Normal Results

    A normal result means there was no growth of microorganisms on the lab dish.

    Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Abnormal results are a sign of a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Infections may include atypical mycobacterial infection.

    Risks

    There is no risk to the patient associated with a lymph node culture. For risks related to the removal of the lymph node sample, see lymph node biopsy.

    References

    Armitage JO. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Cecil Medicine. 24th ed.Philadelphia,PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 171.

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    • Lymphatic system

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    • Lymph node culture

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      • Lymphatic system

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      • Lymph node culture

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      A Closer Look

        Tests for Lymph node culture

        Review Date: 12/6/2011

        Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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