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What are the physical differences between a parotid tumor and a reactive lymph node?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
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what are the physical differences between a parotid tumor and a reactive lymph node?
I am interested in size, texture, and any other physical characteristics to define between the two.
Posted Wed, 14 Nov 2012 in General Health
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.
A reactive lymph node is usually less than 2 cm in size, rubbery in feel and is freely mobile. It becomes more prominent on tightening the jaw.
The parotid tumor is likely to be larger in size, may vary in size with eating, may or may not be fixed to the skin or the deeper structures. It becomes less prominent and fixed on tightening the jaw.
A physical examination by a physician and an FNAC will help in confirmation of diagnosis.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Regards.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What are the physical differences between a parotid tumor and a reactive lymph node? 51 minutes later
thank you for your response. My doctor believes it is a reactive lymph node but we did not do a FNAC. I will ask next time I go in.

Also, with respect to the structure of the mandible ramus/angle of the mandible...if I use the pads of my fingers and start from the back of my neck and run my fingers over the angle...i feel a mass but it feels more like a tendon/ligament. no pain or obvious swelling. it is as though the mass is out of alignment with the geometry of my jaw. Reminds me of the elastic band/ snapping hip condition but in the jaw. The mass is more apparent when reclining back or laying down. It is harder to detect standing upright. I suffer from tmj. Do you think it could be a tendon/ligament or something wrong with the parotid gland?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 48 minutes later
Hello.
Thanks for writing again.
From your description, a muscle prominence is more likely rather than a parotid swelling.
To differentiate, if the area tightens on tightening the jaw, then muscle related irregularity is likely. Parotid swelling is unlikely.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What are the physical differences between a parotid tumor and a reactive lymph node? 8 days later
curious...when measuring a lymph node by touch how is it measured? If I say it is 1cm are we measuring the length or width? For example, if a lymp node is described like a bean shape are we measuring the waste of the lymph node or the hieght? (hope that makes some sense)
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 16 hours later
You need to measure the largest diameter that you can feel. It can be length, width or height.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What are the physical differences between a parotid tumor and a reactive lymph node? 35 hours later
Hello Doctor,

If I may I would like to follow up with you on my situation relative to my first question (lymph node/parotid mass). I went to see my doctor, as he has scheduled me for a head/neck ct san and complete blood work. He was uncertain what it was. actually very hard for him to feel what I was feeling. Would a reactive lymph node show up on a CT scan? I wish I could have done a biopsy instead. It is still under 1cm painless and easily moveable. no other health issues or symptoms.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
A CT scan is an excellent way to check for lymph nodes. CT scans can pick up very small lymph nodes. A CT scan, however, can NOT tell whether the lymph node is abnormal or not. Most small nodes can be safely ignored.
A lymph node of any size would be more worrisome if you had systemic symptoms (fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss).
Hope this is helpful.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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