UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Lymphatics of the Upper Limb

Gross Anatomy


Lymphatics of the Upper Limb - Listed Alphabetically

Structure Location Afferents from Efferents to Regions drained Notes
axillary nodes axilla cubital nodes; lymphatic vessels from the upper limb, thoracic wall and subscapular region efferents vessels form the subclavian trunk, some drainage to inferior deep cervical nodes upper limb, most of the mammary gland, some of the anterolateral chest wall, posterior thoracic wall and scapular region axillary nodes number from 20 to 30 and are organized in five groups based on their position within the axilla: 1) pectoral nodes, along the lateral border of the pectoralis major m.; 2) lateral nodes, located along the distal axillary v.; 3) central nodes, centrally located along axillary v.; 4) subscapular nodes, located along the subscapular v. and its tributaries; 5) apical nodes, located at the apex of axilla
axillary nodes, apical apex of the axilla lateral axillary nodes; central axillary nodes; subscapular axillary nodes; pectoral nodes; accessory lymphatic vessels from the mammary gland; lymphatic vessels accompanying the cephalic v. subclavian lymphatic trunk; deep cervical lymph nodes upper limb, most of the mammary gland, some of the anterolateral chest wall, posterior thoracic wall and scapular region apical axillary nodes are 6- 12 in number; this is the highest node group in the axilla and all other node groups drain through these nodes; a very important group of nodes in cases of metastatic spread of breast cancer; connections to deep cervical nodes may result in spread of breast cancer through the deep neck
axillary nodes, central in the fat of the axilla lateral axillary nodes; pectoral nodes; subscapular nodes; lymphatic vessels from the mammary gland and upper limb apical axillary nodes upper limb, most of the mammary gland, some of the anterolateral chest wall, posterior thoracic wall and scapular region central axillary nodes are 4 or 5 in number; they are involved in cancer of the mammary gland
axillary nodes, lateral along the distal axillary v. cubital nodes; lymphatic vessels of the arm central axillary nodes, apical axillary nodes upper limb lateral axillary nodes become inflamed during upper limb infections; also known as: brachial nodes
axillary nodes, subscapular along the course of the subscapular vessels lymphatic vessels from the skin of the back and back of the neck; lymphatic vessels from the muscles of the scapular region central axillary nodes skin of the back and back of the neck; muscles of the scapular and subscapular regions subscapular axillary nodes are 5 or 6 in number; also known as: posterior axillary nodes
central axillary nodes in the fat of the axilla lateral axillary nodes; pectoral nodes; subscapular nodes; lymphatic vessels from the mammary gland and upper limb apical axillary nodes upper limb, most of the mammary gland, some of the anterolateral chest wall, posterior thoracic wall and scapular region central axillary nodes are 4 or 5 in number; they are involved in cancer of the mammary gland
cubital nodes cubital fossa of the upper limb lymphatic vessels from the forearm lateral axillary nodes deep tissues of the forearm and hand cubital nodes small and are 5 or 6 in number
infraclavicular nodes along the cephalic v. in the deltopectoral groove lymphatic vessels from the superficial upper limb apical axillary nodes skin and superficial fascia of the upper limb infraclavicular nodes may become inflamed during infections of the superficial tissues of the upper limb
pectoral nodes along the lateral border of the pectoralis major m. along the course of the lateral thoracic vessels lymphatic vessels from the mammary gland and anterolateral thoracic wall central axillary nodes anterolateral thoracic wall and muscles; most of the mammary gland an important group of nodes to examine during a breast physical exam; also known as: anterior axillary nodes
subscapular axillary nodes along the course of the subscapular vessels lymphatic vessels from the skin of the back and back of the neck; lymphatic vessels from the muscles of the scapular region central axillary nodes skin of the back and back of the neck; muscles of the scapular and subscapular regions subscapular axillary nodes are 5 or 6 in number; also known as: posterior axillary nodes
supraclavicular nodes in and around carotid sheath below level of omohyoid superior deep cervical nodes, transverse cervical nodes, spinal accessory nodes efferents form the jugular lymphatic trunk head and neck also known as: inferior deep cervical nodes
transverse cervical nodes along the course of the transverse cervical blood vessels accessory chain of nodes, sometimes the apical axillary nodes variable: jugular lymphatic trunk, right lymphatic trunk or thoracic duct lateral part of the neck, anterior thoracic wall, mammary gland transverse cervical nodes are approximately 10 in number and may drain directly into the internal jugular v. or subclavian v.


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.




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