Calcification is a buildup of calcium in the body tissues. It normally occurs in the bone formations of our body, but can also occur in soft tissues, making them hard. Calcified lymph nodes are frequently seen on x-rays, but are almost always asymptomatic and are generally ignored.
Lymph nodes are a vital component of our immune mechanism.
The lymph nodes detect infection and make sure it does not spread all over the body. The lymph nodes comprise of lymphatic tissue and are encapsulated.
What Causes Development Of Calcified Lymph Nodes?
Calcification of the lymph node occurs as a consequence to calcium deposits in it during inflammation and swelling. When there is a microbe invading your body, the lymph nodes entrap and screen out anything that triggers infection.
Sometimes, after the lymph nodes swell, they may not go back to their original size that they were prior to the infection.
Here are some of the likely causes for the development of calcified lymph nodes in your body:
- Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Valley fever
- Cancer in the body viscera
- Radiation therapy for the management of cancer
- Round worm infestation
- Lymph node disorders
- Bone cancer
- Follicular thyroid cancer
- A toxic reaction to T.B. vaccine
There are certain conditions which may be seen as calcified lymph nodes on an x-ray, but they could be something else. This occurs since the density is thick and it appears calcified even though it may not be.
Other medical conditions which are known to impersonate calcified lymph nodes are – a thyroid lump, goiters on the thyroid, parathyroid tumor, an aneurysm, a cyst on the thymus, and calcification in the pulmonary artery.
Treatment Of Calcified Lymph Nodes
In case, a calcified lymph node is discovered on some routine investigation, then it isn’t a concern. When a lymph node gets calcified, it is a warning of some other problem in your body. It indicates that there could be either an infection or a tumor mass in the region of the lymph node. Calcification may be due to a scar tissue from an earlier infection or trauma. In cases of some malignancy, the lymph node will be excised for biopsy and to avert the cancer from spreading.
Calcified lymph nodes are like scar tissue from an infection or cancer. The event which caused the calcification of the lymph node may have occurred several years before and in all likelihood you do not even know it is there.
A calcified lymph node calls for additional investigations to ascertain whether the infection is present; on the other hand, treatment for the lymph node is more often than not, not required.
Occasionally, a calcified lymph node may cause pain. This could occur in the chest area in case the calcified lymph node puts pressure on to a blood vessel which supplies the heart. In such cases, your health care provider will recommend a surgical removal of the lymph node to allay the pain.