Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoma
Lymph nodes-infectious / parasitic disorders

Topic Completed: 1 June 2006

Minor changes: 4 November 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tuberculosis[TI] lymph nodes[TI] full text[sb]

See also: Lung - nontumor chapter

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Cite this page: DePond WD. Tuberculosis. website. Accessed January 19th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Usually nodal involvement of cervical region (scrofula), often with draining sinus to skin
  • Generalized TB in AIDS cases at autopsy show thoracic or abdominal nodal involvement in almost all cases, although TB often not diagnosed prior to death (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2000;124:1267)
  • Needle biopsy of enlarged nodes may be helpful in smear negative, HIV+ patients with suspected TB (Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2005;9:220)
Case reports
Gross description
  • Large multinodular mass that resembles carcinoma with multiple foci of caseous necrosis
Gross images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Tuberculous lymphadenitis

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Multinodular mass

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Either multiple small epithelioid granulomas or huge epithelioid granulomas with prominent Langhans giant cells and central necrosis (J Clin Pathol 1988;41:93)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Tuberculous lymphadenitis

Ziehl-Neelsen stain

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Granulomatous reaction

Noncaseous necrosis with prominent nuclear debris

Macrophages around foci of necrosis

With metastatic adenocarcinoma

Ziehl-Neelsen stain in HIV+ patient with TB

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