Lymphadenopathy classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Amandeep Singh M.D.[2], Raviteja Guddeti, M.B.B.S. [3]Delband Yekta Moazami, M.D.[4] Ogechukwu Hannah Nnabude, MD


Lymphadenopathy may be classified according to distribution into 2 groups localized lymphadenopathy and generalized lymphadenopathy.


Depending upon the involvement of the lymph nodes, lymphadenopathy is classified into 2 groups, generalized and localized:[1]

  • Localized lymphadenopathy: localized adenopathy occurs in contiguous groupings of lymph nodes. In discrete anatomical regions, lymph nodes are distributed, and their enlargement represents their location's lymphatic drainage. Tender or non-tender, fixed or mobile, and discreet or "matted" together can be the nodes themselves. 75 percent of all lymphadenopathies are localized, with over 50% seen in the region of the head and neck.

Lymphadenopathy may be classified as follows:

Upper limit of lymph node sizes in adults
Generally 10 mm[4][5]
Inguinal 10[6] – 20 mm[7]
Pelvis 10 mm for ovoid lymph nodes, 8 mm for rounded[6]
Generally (non-retropharyngeal) 10 mm[6][8]
Jugulodigastric lymph nodes 11mm[6] or 15 mm[8]
Retropharyngeal 8 mm[8]
Mediastinum, generally 10 mm[6]
Superior mediastinum and high paratracheal 7mm[9]
Low paratracheal and subcarinal 11 mm[9]
Upper abdominal
Retrocrural space 6 mm[10]
Paracardiac 8 mm[10]
Gastrohepatic ligament 8 mm[10]
Upper paraaortic region 9 mm[10]
Portacaval space 10 mm[10]
Porta hepatis 7 mm[10]
Lower paraaortic region 11 mm[10]


  1. Mohseni S, Shojaiefard A, Khorgami Z, Alinejad S, Ghorbani A, Ghafouri A (2014). "Peripheral lymphadenopathy: approach and diagnostic tools". Iran J Med Sci. 39 (2 Suppl): 158–70. PMC 3993046. PMID 24753638.
  2. Ganeshalingam S, Koh DM (December 2009). "Nodal staging". Cancer Imaging. 9: 104–11. doi:10.1102/1470-7330.2009.0017. PMC 2821588. PMID 20080453.
  3. Schmidt AF, Rodrigues OR, Matheus RS, Kim Jdu U, Jatene FB (2007). "Mediastinal lymph node distribution, size and number: definitions based on an anatomical study". J Bras Pneumol. 33 (2): 134–40. doi:10.1590/s1806-37132007000200006. PMID 17724531.
  4. Ganeshalingam, Skandadas; Koh, Dow-Mu (2009). "Nodal staging". Cancer Imaging. 9 (1): 104–111. doi:10.1102/1470-7330.2009.0017. ISSN 1470-7330. PMC 2821588. PMID 20080453.
  5. Schmidt Júnior, Aurelino Fernandes; Rodrigues, Olavo Ribeiro; Matheus, Roberto Storte; Kim, Jorge Du Ub; Jatene, Fábio Biscegli (2007). "Distribuição, tamanho e número dos linfonodos mediastinais: definições por meio de estudo anatômico". Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia. 33 (2): 134–140. doi:10.1590/S1806-37132007000200006. ISSN 1806-3713. PMID 17724531.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Torabi M, Aquino SL, Harisinghani MG (September 2004). "Current concepts in lymph node imaging". Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 45 (9): 1509–18. PMID 15347718.
  7. "Assessment of lymphadenopathy". BMJ Best Practice. Retrieved 2017-03-04. Last updated: Last updated: Feb 16, 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Page 432 in: Luca Saba (2016). Image Principles, Neck, and the Brain. CRC Press. ISBN 9781482216202.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Sharma, Amita; Fidias, Panos; Hayman, L. Anne; Loomis, Susanne L.; Taber, Katherine H.; Aquino, Suzanne L. (2004). "Patterns of Lymphadenopathy in Thoracic Malignancies". RadioGraphics. 24 (2): 419–434. doi:10.1148/rg.242035075. ISSN 0271-5333. PMID 15026591.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Dorfman, R E; Alpern, M B; Gross, B H; Sandler, M A (1991). "Upper abdominal lymph nodes: criteria for normal size determined with CT". Radiology. 180 (2): 319–322. doi:10.1148/radiology.180.2.2068292. ISSN 0033-8419. PMID 2068292.

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