Lymph nodes are part of your immune system, filtering out germs and other harmful substances that travel in the lymph fluid, including cancer cells. You may need a lymph node biopsy if you have enlarged lymph nodes or there are concerns about breast or skin cancer spreading to other body parts. Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, in Somerville, New Jersey, performs lymph node biopsy and sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer and melanoma. To schedule a surgical consultation, call the office or book an appointment online today.

request an appointment

What is a lymph node biopsy?

A lymph node biopsy is the removal of a lymph node for evaluation. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures found all over your body. Part of your immune system, lymph nodes contain white blood cells that help prevent infections and diseases by killing and removing germs and other harmful substances.

Why would I need a lymph node biopsy?

You may need a lymph node biopsy if you have enlarged lymph nodes from an unknown cause. Health care providers also perform the test for people with breast cancer or melanoma (a type of skin cancer) to see if the cancer has spread.

When you have breast cancer or melanoma, you may need lymph node dissection (removal of all the lymph nodes in close proximity to the cancer). But Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, also performs sentinel lymph node biopsy.

During a sentinel lymph node biopsy, Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, only removes the one lymph node most likely to contain cancerous cells, potentially preventing the need for the more invasive lymph node dissection.

What happens during a lymph node biopsy?

Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, uses various surgical techniques when performing a lymph node biopsy based on the location of the concerning lymph node and the reason for the test.

Types of lymph node biopsies include:

Open lymph node biopsy

The surgeons may perform an open lymph node biopsy for an enlarged lymph node that’s close to the surface of the skin. They make an incision through the skin and remove some or all of the node.

Laparoscopic lymph node biopsy

For a lymph node biopsy in the abdominal area, the surgeon may use laparoscopic surgery. They use the laparoscope (thin tube with a light and camera) for visualization of the lymph node so they don’t have to make a large incision to access and remove it.

Needle aspiration lymph node biopsy

For a needle aspiration lymph node biopsy, your provider uses a needle to remove some of the lymph tissue.

What happens after a lymph node biopsy?

You can expect some soreness at the site of the biopsy during the first few days after the procedure. Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, provides instructions on how to care for the site of your biopsy and when you can expect your test results.

The results of your lymph node biopsy determine what steps need to happen next, which may include lymph node dissection or additional testing.

To schedule a lymph node biopsy, call Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, or book an appointment online today.