What are Lymph Nodes and Why do They Swell?

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Our lymph nodes play an important role in our body’s immune system by producing cells that fight off infection. These bean-shaped organs are constantly working by filtering out bad bacteria and germs so we can remain healthy. From time to time, lymph nodes can become inflamed and start to enlarge. Swollen lymph nodes may be alarming at first, but there are many reasons why this is happening. It’s important to consult a medical professional as soon as you notice anything amiss. Our experienced general surgeons at Sierra Pacific Surgical in Roseville or Folsom, CA can perform a lymph node biopsy to determine the cause of the swelling.

Where are my lymph nodes located?

You have hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body with clusters located in the neck, armpits, chest, abdomen, and groin areas. These small organs filter harmful substances through the lymphatic fluid to the body can fight off infection. If your lymph nodes are suddenly swollen and painful to the touch, this is probably caused by an infection or an injury. If the pain subsides within a few days, the lymph nodes are doing their job correctly and no treatment is needed.

When should I consult a medical professional?

If they don’t get smaller within a few weeks, you may need to contact our team at Sierra Pacific Surgical for further investigation. A few signs that you may need treatment are if your lymph nodes don’t get smaller with time but instead get larger in size; are hard to the touch and feel like they can’t be moved; and if it is accompanied by fever and sudden weight loss. One of our experienced general surgeons can quickly examine your situation and detail a course of effective treatment. The first step in diagnosing any problem with the lymph nodes is generally with a biopsy.

What is a lymph node biopsy?

If your lymph node issue does not resolve on its own in a few days or weeks, you may need a lymph node biopsy to rule out anything serious, such as cancer. This diagnostic procedure is performed by one of our expert surgeons at our accredited surgical facility. Your biopsy will either be an open form surgical procedure or with a fine needle. With the open form, a small incision is made near the affected area and a small piece of the lymph node is removed. With the needle, it is inserted into the lymph node and cells are extracted. Both procedures take roughly 15 to 20 minutes to perform, and biopsy material is then examined for cancer.

Where can I find out more information about my swollen lymph nodes in the Sacramento, CA area?

At Sierra Pacific Surgical, we offer minimally invasive surgery, general surgery, and diagnostic services. Our dedicated and skilled team of surgeons is ready to treat all of your surgical needs. If you suspect you have swollen lymph nodes and feel like further treatment is need, schedule a consultation with one of our facilities in Roseville or Folsom, CA today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.