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Internal Mammary Lymph Node Biopsy specialist?

I had a IMLN biopsy attempt 10 days ago that was unsuccessful. The 2 nodes were too close to my lung and resulted in a pneumothorax.

Has anyone had one completed successfully? If so, where? Is there someone who specializes in this type of biopsy?

I'm finding very little information on IMLN, let alone biopsy.

With thanks :)


  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 846

    Hi @bluesky1969 , As you found out a FNA biopsy of IMLN is a difficult procedure. At some large cancer centers there are a few radiologists/pathologists who have the expertise to do this but in many places there are none on staff. Cardiothoracic surgeons can remove IMLNs but it is pretty invasive surgery. I imagine they could biopsy as well so it might be worth consulting one. They are used to working with other doctors when the surgery gets too close to the heart and lungs for comfort. A CT surgeon assisted the head & neck surgeon who removed my thyroid goiter since it had grown into the mediastinum. I hope you can find someone to get this done without injuring your lungs again.

  • bluesky1969
    bluesky1969 Member Posts: 80

    Maggie15 - you are amazing **thank you** It's hard to be twisting in the wind with no medical background. The info you share helps me move forward: thank you

    I'm in Vancouver, BC and planning on US second option. The pneumothorax threw a wrench in that plan as I can't travel for 6 weeks post resolution. Hoping for a zoom consult.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 846

    Hi @bluesky1969 , I'm currently in the US but have previously lived with the Ontario and Quebec health systems. I don't know anything about BC but realize that each province is different. The best thing was not having to fight with insurance companies for payment but there was less choice.

    Sometimes what happens is just blind luck. My husband was hospitalized in Ontario with severe GI symptoms and fever that had stumped the doctors. By chance a doctor who had emigrated from China saw him on rounds and immediately diagnosed an amoeba infection. It is rare in the northern US / CA but common in China. He had picked it up when he was in rural Arkansas on business.

    I hope you can get a zoom consult and some suggestions on how to proceed. In my case doing nothing about the enlarged IMLN was the decision since there is a very high probability it is due to inflammation in the area and the risk of harm from biopsy is great. Every situation is different, however.