Reactive lymphoid hyperplasia

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
October 27, 2023

reactive lymphoid hyperplasia

Reactive lymphoid hyperplasia is a benign (noncancerous) increase in the number of immune cells called lymphocytes. This change commonly affects small immune organs called lymph nodes, When this happens, the lymph nodes may appear enlarged. This change may also be seen in other organs where a large number of lymphocytes are normally found. This includes the stomach, small intestine, skin, and oropharynx (especially the tonsils).

What causes reactive lymphoid hyperplasia?

Reactive lymphoid hyperplasia can be caused by anything that stimulates or activates lymphocytes. The most common cause is a viral or bacterial infection. Lymphocytes can also be stimulated by injury to the tissue, allergies, and drugs/medications.  Rarely, this change is caused by an immune system disorder or autoimmune disease.

How is this diagnosis made?

The diagnosis of reactive lymphoid hyperplasia is usually made after small pieces of tissue are removed in a procedure called a biopsy. When a lymph node is involved, the entire lymph node may be removed in a procedure called an excision. The tissue is then sent to a pathologist for examination under the microscope.

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