The lymphatic system is a complex network of thin tubes and nodes that runs throughout your body. Lymph is the clear fluid that circulates through these tubes.
There are two types of lymph: lymph from the stomach and intestine, called intestinal lymph; and lymph from the rest of the body, called intercellular lymph.
Intercellular lymph collects into larger vessels that ultimately deliver it to one of four major ducts in the thoracic region: left jugular, left bronchial, left lumbar, or left abdominal duct.
The function of these vessels and ducts is to return protein-rich (thus whitish) bloodless fluids back to the blood circulation system. This process is critical for overall immune system function and health.
Right lateral trunk
The right lateral trunk begins in the right groin and ends in the thoracic duct, which empties into the venous system.
The lymph from the right leg ultimately is delivered to which duct in the thoracic region? The right lateral trunk. This knowledge is important because it indicates where lymphatic cancer likely originated: the right leg.
Knowing where the lymphatic cancer began makes treatment and prognosis more clear. Doctors can more specifically look at what areas of the body are affected by the cancer and how to best treat it.
The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels that plays an important role in our health. By understanding its pathways, we gain a better grasp on how health issues may have originated and changed its course.
Right medial trunk
The right medial trunk receives lymph from the right groin, medial thigh, and medial calf. This lymph ultimately is delivered to the thoracic duct in the thoracic region.
This trunk also receives lymph from the mesenteric lymph nodes in the abdomen. These nodes filter lymphatic fluid that has entered the abdomen via vessels from internal organs, such as the intestines and kidneys.
The thoracic duct begins at the junction of the left and right bronchi and runs down along the esophagus to join with the left subclavian vein. The left subclavian vein then returns blood to the heart.
The thoracic duct unites with several other veins to formthe brachiocephalic vein, which returns blood tothe heart viathe rightsubclavian vein.
Right celiac trunk
The right lymphatic trunk is one of the three main lymphatic trunks in the body. It begins at the lower part of the right lymphatic duct and ends at the celiac trunk.
The right lymphatic duct begins at the junction between the superior mesenteric artery and the inferior mesenteric artery. This junction is located in the abdominal cavity, just beneath the stomach.
From here, this vessel travels down to just beneath the right kidney, where it joins with several other vessels to form a trunk. This structure then travels up toward the thoracic region before dividing into two branches that return blood and lymph to the superior cistern.
One of these branches re-enters the thoracic duct, which then returns blood and lymph to the jugular vein. The other branch enters a small canal calledthe peritoneal canal that runs along just beneath the inside surface ofthe abdominal cavity.
Right bronchomediapinal trunk
Now that you know the lymph from the right leg is delivered to the right lymphatic duct, what does it do next?
This lymphatic duct ultimately delivers its contents to the thoracic region. Specifically, this includes the right and left bronchus and mediastinal nodes.
The right bronchus connects the trachea (windpipe) with the lungs. The left bronchus connects the left lung with the pulmonary vasculature. Mediastinal nodes are groups of lymph nodes located in the center of the chest between the lungs.
Thoracic regions can become infected, and this can be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. It is important to know how infection in these areas is transmitted, so appropriate precautions can be taken to stop it.
Right superior intermedial trunk
In this article, we discussed the different types of lymph vessels and how they are organized. Now let us look at the routes lymph takes as it travels through the body.
As you now know, lymph originates in tissues and is carried by lymphatic vessels. These vessels are divided into two categories: interstitial and cerebral.
Interstitial vessels carry lymph between cells and tissues, while cerebral vessels carry it to larger lymph ducts. These larger ducts then join to form one large vessel called a thoracic duct. This thoracic duct ultimately delivers the lymph to which organ? The right kidney!
The thoracic duct comes from which region of the body? The thoracic region, of course! As mentioned before, all of the right inferior intermedial trunk joins with the right superior intermedial trunk to form the right common iliac trunk. This then joins with the left common iliac trunk to form the common iliac artery, which supplies blood to the right kidney.
Right inferior intermedial trunk
Now that you know the right inferior intermedial trunk delivers lymph from the right leg, let’s talk about its pathway.
This trunk begins in the inferior region of the adductor muscles in the pelvic region. It travels superiorly to enter the pelvic region where it merges with other trunks.
It then travels inferiorly to enter the right common iliac artery, which is a major artery in the pelvis. The trunk finally exits through the femoral vein, which runs down the front of the thigh.
The right inferior intermedial trunk drains lymph from several regions of the pelvis and lower limb. These include: superficial and deep compartments of the anterior thigh, anteromedial surface of lower leg, anteriolateral surface of foot and ankle (anterior tibial muscle), and dorsal skin surface (dorsal foot muscles).
Left lymph ducts
The left lymph ducts ultimately deliver lymph from the right leg to the thoracic duct. The thoracic duct is a large, main channel that begins in the abdomen and ends in the neck.
This main lymphatic vessel collects lymph from all over the body and carries it to the blood circulatory system. The thoracic duct is also called the cisterna capitis.
The cisterna capitis is located in the superior part of the jugular vein, just above where it joins with the internal jugular vein. The cisterna capitis is lined with a special kind of cells called epithelial cells, which are similar to skin cells.
Lymph that enters the cisterna capitis from smaller lymph vessels in the right leg then passes through it to reach the jugular vein, where it returns to the blood circulatory system.
Lymph vessels transport excess interstitial fluid containing waste products to the lymph nodes, which filter the fluid and destroy harmful material before returning the remaining fluid to the blood stream
Now that we know the answer to our question, let’s go back to our original question: from which lymphatic duct does lymph from the right leg ultimately is delivered to?
The lymphatic duct that ultimately receives lymph from the right leg is the right common iliac lymphatic duct.
This is interesting because this particular lymphatic duct receives drainage not only from the right leg, but also from the left pelvic region (including the left side of the bowel and uterus) and part of the abdominal region (including some liver).
Not only does this answer help us understand more about anatomy, but it also helps us understand why infections in these areas can cause symptoms in the legs.