Illustration copyright 2000 by
Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Lymph nodes are small,
bean-shaped structures in the body that are sometimes incorrectly called "glands." They are part of the lymphatic system, which
carries lymph fluid, nutrients, and waste material between the body tissues and
the bloodstream. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, which is the body's
defense system against disease.
Lymph nodes are found singly or in
groups. They may be as small as the head of a pin or as large as an olive.
Groups of lymph nodes can be felt in the neck, groin, and underarms. Many lymph
nodes in the body cannot be felt.
When a part of the body is
infected, the nearby lymph nodes can become swollen. For example, if a person
has a throat infection, the lymph nodes in the neck may swell and become
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.