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The lymph nodes that collect lymph from the organs of the abdomen and pelvis, and the abdominal wall open into three major lymphatic trunks which in turn open into the cisterna chyli. The cisterna chyli is an anatomical dilation in the lymphatic system that is frequently found at the union of the three main lymphatic trunks of the abdomen and pelvis, namely; the left lumbar trunk, the right lumbar trunk and the intestinal trunk. This dilatation of the lymphatic system opens into the thoracic duct, which is the main lymphatic trunk that returns lymph back into the venous system.
The intestinal lymph trunk receives lymph from the regional and intervening lymph nodes of the spleen and most of the digestive organs, with the exception of the descending colon, the sigmoid colon and the upper part of the rectum whose regional lymph nodes drain into the left lumbar trunk.
The intestinal trunk receives lymph from the splenic lymph nodes, the hepatic lymph nodes, the right and left gastric lymph nodes, the pyloric lymph nodes, the right and left gastro-duodenal lymph nodes, the celiac lymph nodes, which collect lymph from the duodenum, the pancreas, the stomach, the spleen and the liver, and the superior mesenteric lymph nodes, which in turn receive the lymph from the mesocolic, prececal, rectocecal, ileocolic, juxta-intestinal and appendicular lymph nodes.
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