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Lymph node culture is a laboratory test performed on a lymph node to identify microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that cause infection and lymph node swelling.
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 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...
Waiting. You do a lot of it when you have breast cancer. Anytime you’re at the doctor’s office, or in a hospital, guaranteed you’re going to spend some time sitting in a chair with some very well-worn magazines, waiting your turn to get blood drawn, have radiation, see your oncologist. That’s one kind of waiting. The ho-hum, big yawn, wonder what I should make for dinner tonight waiting. But there’s another kind of waiting, and it’s much more stressful: waiting for test results. We’ve all been there, right? Starting with the biopsy . Benign, or malignant? Then there's the lumpectomy . Clean margins… or not? Bone scans , MRIs, blood tests, all involve hours or days of waiting while you put your life on hold. You can’t plan too far in advance, since you don’t have any confidence in the future until you GET THOSE RESULTS. Waiting to hear if breast cancer has spread to your lymph nodes is one of the really key stress-buil...
How long surgery takes
Surgery takes about an hour. The process of being admitted and prepared for surgery will vary from place to place. The amount of time you spend in the recovery room, waking up and getting to the point that you're ready to go home, will vary from woman to woman.
Most surgeons make a two–to–three–inch incision in the skin crease under your arm.
General anesthesia is used. Most commonly, the lower two levels of the three levels of axillary nodes will be removed. Occasionally, a surgeon will take one or two nodes from the top level, as an extra precaution. If you have a modified radical mastectomy, the lymph node dissection usually occurs in the same operation. If you have a lumpectomy, the lymph node dissection may occur at the same time or in a later operation. Once the surgeon removes the nodes, a pathologist will examine them carefully for signs of cancer. It may take days before the pathology report is available.
Lost or dec...
You should know
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