Safety of excisional inguinal lymph node biopsies performed for research purposes in HIV-1-infected women and men

Amie L. Meditz, Elizabeth Connick, Martin McCarter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Most HIV-1 replication occurs in secondary lymphoid tissues, and evaluating these tissues is crucial to investigations of pathogenesis. Inguinal lymph nodes (LN) are obtained frequently for these studies as they are readily detectable in most individuals and provide abundant numbers of cells. Knowledge of the outcomes of inguinal LN excision for research purposes is important to inform accurately study participants and researchers of the potential risks. Methods: Data on surgical complications were collected in real time in HIV-1-infected subjects who underwent excisional inguinal LN biopsies for research purposes from February 1997 through June 2011. Data were analyzed retrospectively to determine the frequency of surgical complications using the Fisher exact test and non-parametric testing. Results: Eighty-seven research subjects underwent a total of 95 LN excisions. Thirty-six percent of subjects were female, 53% were white, 26% were black, 16% Hispanic, and 2% Native American. Median age was 36 y (22-52). The median CD4+ T cell count was 478 cell/mm3 (range, 57-1117) and the median plasma HIV-1 RNA concentration was 4.1 log10copies/mL (range, 1.7-5.9). Minor complications including seroma, transient lymphedema, hematoma, and allergic reaction to surgical tape, occurred in 10% of procedures. Complications that required medical attention occurred in an additional 10% of procedures, and included cellulitis (5%), superficial incisional surgical site infection (3%), and seroma requiring aspiration (1%). Subjects with complications had a lower BMI (25; range, 16-38; n=12) than others (28; range, 19-57; n=40; p=0.05) and tended to have higher platelets, (median, 259×109/L; range, 196-332; vs. 233×109/L; range, 44-633; p=0.07). No other clinical or laboratory characteristics were associated with complications (p≥0.3). Conclusions: Lymph node excision for research purposes is generally safe in a diverse group of chronically HIV-1-infected women and men, but can result in complications in a minority of subjects. No predictors of complications were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-403
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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