What should be included in the physical exam for lymphadenitis?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Elizabeth Partridge, MD, MPH, MS; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Aspects of the physical examination are as follows:

  • Location - Depends on underlying etiology (see Causes section below)

  • Number - Single, local groupings (regional), or generalized (ie, multiple regions)

  • Size/shape - Normal lymph nodes range in size from a few millimeters to 2 cm in diameter; enlarged nodes are greater than 2-3 cm with regular/irregular shapes

  • Consistency - Soft, firm, rubbery, hard, fluctuant, warm

  • Tenderness - Suggestive of an infectious process but does not rule out malignant causes

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