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Why Remove Swollen Lymph Node Without A Biopsy?
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Why Remove Swollen Lymph Node Without A Biopsy?

Not only on this board but on some others I post on, I continue to hear about doctors wanting to remove swollen lymph nodes that were found on an ultrasound WITHOUT a biopsy.  Does anyone know why?  

Also, if a biopsy is done and the lymph node is found to be benign, then why remove it?  Lymph nodes are an integral part of the immune system and fight off infection, correct?

The curiousity is killing me and was wondering if anyone on this board knew why.
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My thought would be that if a lump or lesion appears, it is something that would not normally be there, and a biopsy could help identify what it is.

A lymph node, on the other hand, would normally be there,  but may raise concern when it gets beyond a certain size, or if US suggests it is deviating from its normal shape.  A needle or core biopsy might miss atypical or malignant cells that had developed within the otherwise normal structure.  By removing it, the entire node can be examined in pathology to provide a conclusive answer.

Lymph nodes are an integral part of the immune system, but we have so many that removing one, or even several, as is the case with an axillary resection that may be done along with a lumpectomy, does not impair the system's ability to  perform its function.
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