Lymph node culture
Lymph node culture is a laboratory test performed on a lymph node to identify organisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungus) that cause infection.
How the test is performed
A needle aspiration or biopsy of an enlarged lymph node (swollen glands) is obtained. The fluid is placed in culture media and observed for growth in the laboratory. Sometimes special stains are also done.
How to prepare for the test
There is no special preparation.
Infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For general information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
- Infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)
- Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)
- Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)
- School age test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)
- Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)
How the test will feel
The site may be numbed with a local anesthetic before the node is aspirated. There may be some pain when the needle is inserted into the lymph node.
Why the test is performed
The test may be performed if the cause of swollen glands is not known, and infection is suspected.
No growth is normal.
What abnormal results mean
Abnormal results indicate that infectious microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungus are present.
Suspicion of atypical mycobacterial infection is an additional condition under which the test may be performed.
What the risks are
There is a risk of bleeding or infection.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.