Lymph node swelling on the collarbone


Lymph node swelling, known as "lymphadenopathy" in technical terms, can occur anywhere in the body. Lymph nodes collect all of the body's lymph fluid, filter it, examine the fluid for foreign and pathological substances and then return the fluid to the large bloodstream via the lymphatic system.

Read more on this topic: Lymph Node Swelling - How Dangerous Is It? and lymph node pain - how dangerous is it?

Defense cells against foreign substances are formed in the lymph nodes, causing them to swell (Please also read: Function of the lymphatic system). Superficial lymph node stations, where the lymph fluid of important body and organ areas collects, are located in the groin, on the back of the head, along the neck, in the armpits and on the collarbone. If the superficial lymph nodes are enlarged, they can be felt. This is part of a routine examination.

Please also read: Lymph node swelling in the neck and lymph node swelling in the armpit


A Swelling of the lymph nodes can have many causes and represents initially not a threatening disease The causes can be differentiated into reactive swellings and non-reactive swellings, as well as painfully enlarged and painless lymph nodes.

Often the swollen lymph nodes occur along with one flu and Infection symptoms on (

More rarely, malignant diseases can be behind the swelling of the lymph nodes on the collarbone. So-called Lymphoma put a Form of lymph cancer which affects the lymph cells. To rule out such a disease, should consult a doctor as a precaution if the swelling is unclear become. We also have diseases Sarcoid, HIV, Juvenile arthritis or syphilis can cause the lymph nodes to swell via certain mechanisms.


The cornerstone of the diagnosis of lymph node swelling on the collarbone consists of a targeted questioning of the patient and scanning of the lymph nodes. The accompanying symptoms, the presence of pain, the duration of the swelling and the location of the swelling (for example, whether only one lymph node is affected or whether there is symmetrical swelling) are decisive for the anamnesis.

Additional swelling can be diagnosed by palpating the lymph nodes. It can also be determined whether the knot is soft or has a hard capsule. The mobility of the lymph node can also provide indications of a disease.

Further tests are then carried out to clarify the diagnosis. If there is a suspicion of a pathogen-related inflammation, blood tests can provide further information. If a malignant disease is suspected, the lymph node must be biopsied. This is done by piercing the knot with a fine needle and taking a tissue sample. If the suspicion is confirmed, numerous additional examinations of the entire body must be carried out before therapy can be initiated.

Read more on this topic at: Lymph node biopsy

Concomitant symptoms

The accompanying symptoms are often decisive for the diagnosis of lymph node swelling in the collarbone. The majority of the lymph node swelling in the head and neck area is due to inflammation caused by the pathogen. In the vast majority of cases, there is a simple flu behind it. If the lymph nodes are painful with targeted pressure from the outside, there is also fever, fatigue, body aches and flu symptoms, the diagnosis is obvious. The swelling of the lymph nodes may persist even after the flu has cleared. A hard capsule forms around the lymph node so that the node retains its size even after the infection.

Read more on the topic: Swelling on the side of the neck

The exact symptoms of the possible causal infectious diseases vary from one another. Pfeiffer's glandular fever, for example, is more likely to manifest itself in a high fever and tonsil swelling, whereas measles is noticeable with skin rashes (Please also read: Symptoms of glandular fever of Pfeiffer).

Malignant diseases usually remain asymptomatic for a very long time. The painless, swollen lymph nodes are often the first thing that you will notice. Later, however, symptoms such as night sweats, weight loss and a slight fever appear.


The procedure in the treatment is highly dependent on the diagnosed cause. In the majority of cases, the flu is simple and rarely requires therapy. The Like the flu symptoms, lymph node swelling usually goes away within a few days. With some Infectious diseases can even several weeks of the Symptoms imminent. In turn, bacterial infections often require anti-inflammatory and antibacterial treatment. Stubborn bacteria often require antibiotic treatments lasting several days.

Malignant lymphomas the lymph nodes on the collarbone more intense targeted therapies. There are several different types of lymph node cancer. The most important types can be divided into Hodgkin lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin lymphomas and Lymph node metastases other cancers. For the latter, the main focus is on treating the underlying disease. Under Consultation with an oncologist Chemotherapy and radiation should also be considered for malignant lymphoma.


The duration of the lymph node swelling on the collarbone is from the underlying disease as well dependent as from Therapy success. In the majority of cases, the swelling, a symptom of the flu, has subsided within 3-7 days. Longer infections can also take a few weeks. Should the disease have subsided, but the resulting one Swelling persists in the long term stay, that too at first no need to worry represent.

Lymph node swelling on the collarbone, the one non-reactive cause (i.e., without an underlying inflammation) often persist for weeks to months. The swelling recruits Indication of the success of the treatment and should decrease a few weeks after starting therapy.

Lymph node swelling after vaccination

A Swelling after a vaccination is not atypical. In the conventional standard vaccinations, small so-called "dead" parts of the pathogen are removed in the muscle injected. They cannot trigger the disease themselves, but they do cause one in the body Immune reaction, which is similar to the infection.

As a result, defense cells are formed in the lymph nodes, among other things, in order to be prepared against the pathogen in the event of a real infection. Since the Lymph nodes on the collarbone in the drainage area of the upper body and the poor If they are vaccinated in the muscle of the upper arm, they will also come into contact with the vaccine. A swelling shortly after the vaccination is therefore not uncommon.

Please also read: Fever after vaccination

Painless swelling

The painless swelling can indicate a malignant disease. In malignant lymphomas, the painless swollen lymph node on the collarbone is a possible first symptom. To clarify this, a tissue sample is obtained from the painless lymph node. However, a painless swollen lymph node presents initially no cause for alarm because there can be other causes behind it. Even simple infections can cause long-standing and painless lymph nodes. To determine these causes, one is recommended for painless lymph nodes Presentation to the doctor.

Painful swelling

Painful swelling of the lymph nodes on the collarbone speak against a lymphoma disease. Even if the pain does not completely exclude the malignant disease, reactive swelling is the main focus of treatment. Lymph node swelling is not uncommon, especially when flu-like symptoms, difficulty swallowing and signs of illness are added. As a rule, no further examination of the lymph nodes is necessary until the infection has subsided.

Sentinel lymph nodes

Sentinel lymph nodes are the so-called "guardian lymph nodes". Every organ and drainage area in the body has such sentinel lymph nodes, which are the first to come into contact with the local lymphatic fluid. The sentinel lymph node is particularly important in cancer diagnostics, as it can be examined for the spread of the cancer into the lymphatic system. If the guardian lymph node is infected by cancer cells, both the cancer therapy and the prognosis of the disease change.

Indication of breast cancer

In the course of Breast cancer diagnostics will too Tissue samples from the lymph nodes which are located in the drainage area of ​​the mammary gland. First in these cases are the Armpit lymph nodes affected. These are used in breast cancer therapy often completely removedto prevent the possible spread of the malignant cells. Lymph node swelling on the collarbone can also occur in the context of breast cancer. A tissue sample can be used to determine whether the swollen lymph nodes are metastases from breast cancer.