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What is a lymph node?

John A. Chabot
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

A lymph node is an organ consisting of many types of cells that is part of the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes act as filters or traps for foreign particles and contain white blood cells. Lymph nodes are important for the functioning of the immune system. Adjacent lymph nodes are usually removed during surgery to look for cancer.

Lymph nodes are small, round organs located throughout the body. There are noticeable clusters (sometimes called 'glands') in the armpit, groin, neck, abdomen, and chest. Lymph nodes are connected by lymphatic vessels that drain fluid from all parts of the body. A part of the immune system, the lymph nodes act as filters for foreign particles in the body. In the presence of infection, the lymph nodes may become inflamed or enlarged.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.