Lymph node biopsy


Fine needle aspiration biopsy, or open surgical biopsy.


Fresh tissue: microbiological examination, frozen section, immunohistochemistry, smears, imprints, flow cytometry, cytogenetics and molecular genetics.

Fixed tissue: light microscopy, Immunohistochemistry, Electron microscopy (special fixative).

For satisfactory sampling, particularly if lymphoma is suspected, it is essential that lymph nodes are removed with minimal trauma and are submitted fresh to the laboratory without delay.

If delay is unavoidable, nodes can be transported or stored for short periods at 4oC (do not freeze), in tissue culture medium or normal saline.

As special fixatives are often used formalin fixation should be avoided (consult laboratory staff prior to undertaking the biopsy procedure).

See also Cell immunophenotyping, Flow cytometry and Immunohistochemistry.


Investigation of lymphadenopathy; determination of extent of spread of neoplasms, staging of lymphoma.


Diagnosis of inflammatory conditions, infections and type and grade of malignancy.


Orazai A et al. Knowles' Neoplastic Haematopathology. 3rd ed. 2013. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

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