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What is the different between swollen Lymph nodes and reactive lymph nodes?

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Posted on Thu, 28 Aug 2014
Question: Dear Dr.

I have noticed some pain and different part of my body (Neck, Armpit, Thigh, Chest and Leg). I went to see a doctor and he advised to do the U/S

The radiologist gave me the below report which I appreciate your kind support to interpret it from medical viewpoint

Report:
""Normal both parotid and submandibular glands
Only reactive subcentimeter L. nodes seen at both submandibular areas, both parotid glands and deep cervical chai with short acis dioameter reaching 5 mm only.

Both thyroid lobes are normal in size and echotexture with the right lobe show 1.2x0.8 cm well difine mixed echgencity nodule with ystic changes and hallo sign positive (benign nodule) at its upper pole, another smaller low echogenic nodule seen at isthmus on right side of 6x4 mm (again benign in nature).

The right axilla show reactive subcentimeter L. nodes also

IMPRESSION:
reactive subcentimeter L. nodes bilaterally, of no clinical significance.
Right lobe of thyroid multinodular goiter""

My questions are
1. what is the different between swollen Lymph nodes and reactive Lymph nodes?
2. what make Lymph nodes to be reactive?
3. will the reactive lymph nodes develop to be swollen?
4. does my reactive lymph nodes sound like a viral infection?

Thank you in advance
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Normal. any nonspecific.

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Thank you for query.I am Dr Bharatesh D Basti answering your query.
This is a radiological finding and is normal in finding.
Lymphadenopathy need not be only swelling of nodes but also pathology if lymph nodes.
Reactive lymph nodes can be swollen.
Any place lymph node usually up to 10 mm is considered normal and submandibular up to 15 mm is considered normal.
So you need not worry.
Reactive lymph nodes is more of pathology terminology due to various causes .radiologically they just say it to differentiate from malignancy.they mean lymph node is fighting some infection. reactive word purely is more a biopsy report.
As they have ruled out malignancy and said it is normal due to some nonspecific infection.
If you desire to get real reactive word then histopathology will give type of lymph node enlargement .as it is normal biopsy ti get this report may not be required.
Only if lymph node enlarges further it may be required.
You can get back for any clarification.
Thank you
Dr Bharatesh

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti (5 hours later)
Dear Doctor
Thank you for your reply

How does lymph node react when a body get infected by virus for example

Do you think this kind of reactive L nodes can be associated with Hiv infection ?

Reactive L nodes can get worse and enlarged ?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Non specific infection.too small size.

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Thank you for follow up query.
As I have said the size described is too small and us not significant.
HIV and any infection can have reactive lymphadenitis.
More important in HIV is persistant lymphadenopathy beyond 3 months and more than 2 cm size.they can persist through out the disease in many if HIV
Any lymph node swelling should be of at least 2 cm to consider it as important .
Here you need not bother.
You can get back to me for any clarification else please close the discussion and rate.
Thank you
Dr Bharatesh

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti

Dermatologist

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 1764 Questions

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What is the different between swollen Lymph nodes and reactive lymph nodes?

Brief Answer: Normal. any nonspecific. Detailed Answer: Hi Thank you for query.I am Dr Bharatesh D Basti answering your query. This is a radiological finding and is normal in finding. Lymphadenopathy need not be only swelling of nodes but also pathology if lymph nodes. Reactive lymph nodes can be swollen. Any place lymph node usually up to 10 mm is considered normal and submandibular up to 15 mm is considered normal. So you need not worry. Reactive lymph nodes is more of pathology terminology due to various causes .radiologically they just say it to differentiate from malignancy.they mean lymph node is fighting some infection. reactive word purely is more a biopsy report. As they have ruled out malignancy and said it is normal due to some nonspecific infection. If you desire to get real reactive word then histopathology will give type of lymph node enlargement .as it is normal biopsy ti get this report may not be required. Only if lymph node enlarges further it may be required. You can get back for any clarification. Thank you Dr Bharatesh