Lymph node culture is a laboratory test performed on a lymph node to identify microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that cause infection.
Culture - lymph node
How the test is performed:
A sample of fluid from a lymph node is needed. 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.
If needle aspiration does not provide a good enough sample, the entire lymph node may be removed and sent for culture.
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.
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.
What the risks are:
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 .