Lymph Node Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis most commonly affects the lung of the child since the bacteria enters into the body through the lungs. But sometimes tuberculosis develop in areas outside the lungs such as lymph nodes, abdomen, brain, bones, skin etc.

What are lymph nodes?

  • Lymph nodes are small, soft, round or oval structures that are found in various parts of the body. These are usually less than a centimeter in size.
  • The commonest sites where lymph nodes are seen in the body are the neck, arm pits and groin.

What are the symptoms and signs of Lymph Node tuberculosis in children.

  • If you find that the lymph nodes of you child are enlarged for more than 2 weeks then the child might needs to be evaluated for Tuberculosis of the lymph nodes.
  • Sometimes these lymph nodes become very large and can become soft when pus forms inside. In rare cases they can burst and form a tract with the skin known as a sinus.
  • Other important features could be prolonged fever, cough, low appetite and weight loss.

How do we diagnose Lymph Node TB?

  • Usually we would subject the child to a FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) of the lymph node. In this procedure a very thin needle is used to extract a small amount of sample from the lymph node.
  • This specimen is then subjected to detailed tests like staining, PCR and TB cultures. Now we have a new technique known as Xpert-Rif or GeneXpert MTB PCR which has increased the sensitivity of the tests.
  • In rare cases we might have to consider a biopsy of the lymph nodes for detailed analysis. It is required to rule out other rare causes of lymph node enlargement.
  • We would also look for evidence of tuberculosis at other sites of the body including the chest.