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Lymphatic system
Lymphatic system


Lymph node culture
Lymph node culture


Definition:

Lymph node culture is a laboratory test performed on a lymph node to identify microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that cause infection.



Alternative Names:

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.



Normal Values:

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 .




Review Date: 12/3/2007
Reviewed By: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. 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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. 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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