Lymph node biopsies
Lymph nodes ("glands") are found throughout the body and are usually impalpable (cannot be felt). Occasionally, they may enlarge and become palpable or painful, especially if there is an infection in the area (a sore throat and swollen neck glands are a good example).
Sometimes, however, they also enlarge because of malignancy (cancer). In this setting, the lymph node is often simply a messenger, reflecting the spread of another cancer into the lymph node. But on occasion, the lymph node itself may be involved (lymphoma, blood cancers). As a surgeon, my role is to perform an excision biopsy of the lymph node, on behalf of my medical colleagues, who need that information in order to make the diagnosis and plan the best treatment for the person. I strive to do that as quickly and safely as possible, so that treatment may begin.