Lymphatic Drainage Anatomy

Lymph node cluster Area of body drained Associated pathology
Cervical Head and neck Upper respiratory tract infection

Infectious mononucleosis

Kawasaki disease

Mediastinal Trachea and esophagus Primary lung cancer

Granulomatous disease

Hilar Lungs Granulomatous disease
Axillary Upper limb, breast, skin above umbilicus Mastitis Metastasis (especially breast cancer)
Celiac Liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas, Mesenteric lymphadenitis

Typhoid fever

Ulcerative colitis

Celiac disease

Superior mesenteric (mesenteric, ileocolic, mesocolic) Lower duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon to splenic flexure
Inferior mesenteric Colon from splenic flexure to upper rectum
Para-aortic Testes, ovaries, kidneys, uterus Metastasis
Internal iliac Lower rectum to anal canal (above pectinate line), bladder, vagina (middle third), cervix, prostate Sexually transmitted infections
Superficial inguinal Anal canal (below pectinate line), skin below umbilicus (except popliteal area), penis, scrotum, perineum, vulva, buttocks

Superficial Skin

Popliteal Dorsolateral foot, posterior calf Foot/leg cellulitis


  • Right lymphatic duct drains right side of body above diaphragm into junction of the right subclavian and internal jugular vein
  • Thoracic duct drains everything into junction of left subclavian and internal jugular veins (Rupture of thoracic duct can cause chylothorax)

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