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Relief...its only a Reactive Lymphnode, but what exactly does that mean?
Sep 14, 2002

My four year old son had a swollen lymph node is his groin. I took him to the Dr. and we had a biopsy done. The results from the biopsy were that it WAS NOT cancerous, rather it was a 'Reactive Lymph Node'. Out of mere relief, and excitement, I did not ask the surgeon what exactly that meant. I started looking for answers on the internet, and have come up pretty much empty handed. Everything I read about is HIV related. I would just like to know what exactly causes a 'Reactive Lymph Node', and how does go away and how long can it take to go away? He was on cephexlin, and there was no results, that is why his Dr. decided to biopsy in the first place. Now that it is gone, I only want to know how long it takes for it to go away, because I wonder if there was a better solution-other then the biopsy! I am still wondering what could have caused this! HELP Melissa

Response from Dr. Dezube

Swollen lymph nodes are very common findings, particularly in little ones such as yours (4 years old). A swollen lymph node is nothing more than the body's attempt to fight off an infection. They are really common since all of us who walk the face of this Earth are constantly being exposed to foreign substances (e.g., virus, bacteria) and so on. As a few examples, a respiratory infection can cause lymph nodes in the next; a cat scratch can cause lymph nodes under the arm pit; and so on.

So what is a "reactive lymph node". This is what a pathologist calls a lymph node which has expanded to help fight off an infection. Such a lymph node is "reacting" to the infection. It is for that reason that we call such lymph nodes "reactive".

Reactive lymph nodes tend to wax and wane. They come, they go, only to come back again. The biopsy sounded like a reasonable decision.


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