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[lymph- + adenitis]
Inflammation of lymph nodes. It may be caused by the activation of phagocytes and lymphocytes, which encounter large numbers of microorganisms, cancer cells, or other antigenic material. Local swelling and pain are common and often help clinicians diagnose regional diseases; for example, the anterior cervical lymph nodes become tender and enlarged in people with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat); the inguinal lymph nodes become enlarged and painful in some sexually transmitted diseases.
Lymphadenitis is sometimes associated with inflammation of the lymphatic vessels (lymphangitis) leading into the node. It subsides when the underlying infection is treated. Lymphadenitis of unknown cause may require lymph node biopsy (such as excisional or needle biopsies) or aspiration.
SEE: inflammation; SEE: lymphangitis
The inflammation is characterized by a marked increase of tissue, with possible suppuration. Swelling, pain, and tenderness are present. The disease usually accompanies lymphangitis.
The inflammation is caused by drainage of bacteria or toxic substances into the lymph nodes. The cause may be specific, as when caused by the organisms of typhoid, syphilis, or tuberculosis, or nonspecific, in which the causative organism is not identified.
Hot, moist dressings should be applied. Incision and drainage are necessary if abscesses occur. Antibiotics should be given as indicated.