Lymphatic drainage

Movement of lymph throughout the lymphatic system is known as lymphatic drainage and it begins in the lymphatic capillaries. The movement of lymph out of the tissue spaces and into the lymphatic capillaries is assisted by:

• The pressure exerted by the skeletal muscles against the vessels during movement.

• Changes in internal pressure during respiration.

• The compression of lymph vessels from the pull of the skin and fascia during movement.

Lymphatic drainage of the head and neck

The main groups of lymphatic nodes relating to the head and neck are as follows:

Mastoid nodes

Occipital nodes

Superficial cervical nodes

Fig 6.5 Lymphatic nodes of the head and neck

Mastoid nodes

Occipital nodes

Superficial cervical nodes

Parotid nodes

Submandibular nodes

Deep cervical nodes

Parotid nodes

Submandibular nodes

Deep cervical nodes

Name of lymphatic nodes

Position

Areas from which lymph is drained

Cervical nodes (deep)

Deep within the neck, located along the path of the larger blood vessels (carotid artery and internal jugular vein)

Drain lymph from the larynx, oesophagus, posterior of the scalp and neck, superficial part of chest and arm

Cervical nodes (superficial)

Located at the side of the neck, over the sternomastoid muscle

Drain lymph from the lower part of the ear and the cheek region

Submandibular nodes

Beneath the mandible

Drain chin, lips, nose, cheeks and tongue

Occipital nodes

At the base of the skull

Drain back of scalp and the upper part of the neck

Mastoid nodes (post auricular)

Behind the ear in the region of the mastoid process

Drain the skin of the ear and the temporal region of the scalp

Parotid nodes

At the angle of the jaw

Drain nose, eyelids and ear

Student activity

Now complete Activity 6.1 in the resources for this book on Dynamic Learning Online.

Lymphatic drainage of the body

Right lymphatic duct

Axillary nodes

Cubital supratrochlear nodes

Pelvic nodes

Popliteal nodes

Right lymphatic duct

Axillary nodes

Cubital supratrochlear nodes

Pelvic nodes

Popliteal nodes

Cervical nodes Thoracic duct

Thoracic nodes Abdominal nodes

Cisterna chyli

Inguinal nodes

Cervical nodes Thoracic duct

Thoracic nodes Abdominal nodes

Cisterna chyli

Inguinal nodes body

Lymph nodes are mainly clustered at joints where they assist in pumping lymph through the nodes when the joint moves. The superficial lymph nodes are most numerous in the groin, axillae and neck. Most of the deep lymph nodes are found alongside blood vessels of the pelvic, abdominal and thoracic cavities. The main groups of lymphatic nodes relating to the body are as follows:

Name of lymphatic nodes

Position

Area from which lymph is drained

Cervical nodes (deep)

Deep within the neck, located along the path of the larger blood vessels

Drain lymph from the larynx, oesophagus, posterior of the scalp and neck, superficial part of chest and arm

Cervical nodes (superficial)

Located at the side of the neck over the sternomastoid muscle

Drain lymph from the lower part of the ear and cheek region

Axillary nodes

In the underarm region

Drain the upper limbs, wall of the thorax, breasts, upper wall of the abdomen

Supratrochlear/ cubital nodes

In the elbow region (medial side)

Upper limbs passing through the axillary nodes

Thoracic nodes

Within the thoracic cavity and along the trachea and bronchi

Organs of the thoracic cavity and from the internal wall of the thorax

Abdominal nodes

Within the abdominal cavity along the branches of the abdominal aorta

Organs within the abdominal cavity

Pelvic nodes

Within the pelvic cavity, along the paths of the iliac blood vessels

Organs within the pelvic cavity

Inguinal

In the groin

Lower limbs, external genitalia and lower abdominal wall

Popliteal

Behind the knee

The lower limbs through deep and superficial nodes

Summary of the circulatory pathway of lymph 183

Student activity

Now complete Activity 6.2 in the resources for this book on Dynamic Learning Online.

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