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Cisterna Chyli
Lymphoid System

Cisterna Chyli

Cisterna Chyli

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Quick Facts

Location: In front of first or second lumbar vertebrae, behind the right crus of diaphragm.

Drainage: It is the penultimate drainage point for all of the lymph below the diaphragm before it is drained by the thoracic duct.

Direction of Flow: Drains superiorly into the thoracic duct.

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Description:

Description: (Location & Drainage)

The cisterna chyli is a saccular dilatation of lymphatic tissue formed by the union of the following three trunks:

—the intestinal trunk, which receives lymph from the abdominal visceral lymph nodes (celiac, superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric);

—the left lumbar trunk;

—the right lumbar lymph trunk, which joins with the proximal end of the left lumbar trunk before the formation of the cisterna (45% of cases) (Loukas et al., 2007).

However, a significant amount of anatomical variation has been seen in 30% of cases, where the intestinal trunks, right and left lumbar trunks, vessels from the retroaortic nodes and some intercostal lymph vessels join forming the cisterna chyli. As a result, the cisterna chyli receives almost all lymph from below the level of the diaphragm. It drains superiorly into the thoracic duct.

The cisterna chyli is located usually in front of the first or second lumbar vertebrae, behind the right crus of the diaphragm, and to the right of the abdominal aorta. However, its location can vary dramatically due to the significant expansion of the sac in direct relation to the change in body posture; from the supine to sitting position.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Chylous ascites

—Chylothorax

References

Loukas, M., Wartmann, C. T., Louis, R. G., Tubbs, R. S., Salter, E. G., Gupta, A. A. and Curry, B. (2007) 'Cisterna chyli: a detailed anatomic investigation', Clin Anat, 20(6), pp. 683-8.

Description:

Description: (Location & Drainage)

The cisterna chyli is a saccular dilatation of lymphatic tissue formed by the union of the following three trunks:

—the intestinal trunk, which receives lymph from the abdominal visceral lymph nodes (celiac, superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric);

—the left lumbar trunk;

—the right lumbar lymph trunk, which joins with the proximal end of the left lumbar trunk before the formation of the cisterna (45% of cases) (Loukas et al., 2007).

However, a significant amount of anatomical variation has been seen in 30% of cases, where the intestinal trunks, right and left lumbar trunks, vessels from the retroaortic nodes and some intercostal lymph vessels join forming the cisterna chyli. As a result, the cisterna chyli receives almost all lymph from below the level of the diaphragm. It drains superiorly into the thoracic duct.

The cisterna chyli is located usually in front of the first or second lumbar vertebrae, behind the right crus of the diaphragm, and to the right of the abdominal aorta. However, its location can vary dramatically due to the significant expansion of the sac in direct relation to the change in body posture; from the supine to sitting position.

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Cisterna Chyli

ScienceDirect image

It originates from the cisterna chyli at the level of the second lumbar vertebrae and ascends through the aortic hiatus into the chest.

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