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is there a difference between lymphadenopathy and a palpable lymph node?
May 3, 2003

Is there a difference between "lymphadenopathy" and a palpable lymph node? Could you feel a node in the common areas (neck, groin, armpit) without it having to be enlarged beyond normal? Or is any palpable node "lymphadenopathy?"

Response from Dr. Dezube

Although I did NOT consult my Webster dictionary before answering this question, I pretty much use these words interchangeably. Specifically when I feel lymph nodes, I usually call this "lymphadenopathy". Most of the small lymph nodes, which we call shotty lymph nodes, are not significant from a medical standpoint. This may just be an issue of semantics. In other words, when folks come in with little lymph nodes which are not worrisome at all, I still refer to their situation as "lymphadenopathy". When I dictate my office note, I typically will say something like "the patient has shotty inguinal nodes, none of which feels pathological". What that means is that I can palpate (i.e. feel) the lymph nodes, but they don't alarm me in any way.

Which lymph node swelling should prompt HIV testing?
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