Biopsy of Scalene and Supraclavicular Lymph Nodes: Value in Diagnosis

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TO determine the diagnostic value of biopsy of scalene and supraclavicular lymph nodes the pertinent clinical records and surgical pathlogic reports over a 12-year period, from 1950 to 1962, were studied.

Material and Methods

The records of the findings on 500 consecutive unilateral biopsies in 500 patients were reviewed. Included were 305 males and 195 females with ages ranging from 11 to 85 years; 442 were white and 58 were Negro.

All biopsies were done by members of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, of Plastic Surgery, or of General Surgery. All the scalene biopsies were performed by members of the former two departments. For scalene nodes the technic of Daniels1 was followed without the modification of Harken and associates.2

Since a description of the precise site of biopsy was not always available, we classified the lymph nodes that were clinically palpable as supraclavicular and those that were nonpalpable as scalene.

A biopsy was considered to be positive when a significant lesion was found, and to be negative when an insignificant or no lesion was found.


In Figure 1 percentages of positive biopsies of palpable and nonpalpable lymph nodes are compared. The percentage of positive results was higher in the group of palpable nodes (98.3 percent of 323 specimens) than in the group of nonpalpable nodes (75.7 percent of 177 specimens). This has been the experience of others.3–7

Bronchogenic carcinoma. The primary disease in the largest single group of cases in this series was bronchogenic carcinoma. Of . . .



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