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Occipital lymph nodes

Recommended video: Introduction to the lymphatic system [14:10]
Overview of the anatomy, function and main structures of the lymphatic system.

The occipital lymph nodes form a component of the pericervical lymphatic circle and are located at the lateral edge of the trapezius muscle, overlying the occipital bone

The occipital lymph nodes range from 1-10 in number and are divided into superficial and deep groups.

Superficial occipital lymph nodes are covered by the epicranial aponeurosis and accompany the third part of the occipital artery and greater occipital nerve, adjacent to the superior nuchal line. Efferent vessels of these nodes drain to the accessory lymph nodes or to the deep occipital lymph nodes. 

Deep occipital lymph nodes are located beneath the superior insertion of splenius capitis, above the obliquus capitis superior muscle and medial to the longissimus capitis muscle. This group of nodes drain to the sternocleidomastoid nodes or accessory nodes via efferent vessels. 

The superficial and deep occipital lymph nodes receive lymphatic drainage from the posterior aspect of the scalp, skin of the upper neck and a portion of the deep layers of the neck which borders on the occipital region. 

Terminology English: Occipital lymph nodes
Latin: Nodi lymphoidei occipitales
Definition A group of lymph nodes located on the posterior aspect of the head, overlying the occipital bone
Drainage area Posterior aspect of scalp, skin of upper neck, portion of deep layers of neck

Test your knowledge on the lymphatics of the head and neck with this quiz.

Take a closer look at the lymph nodes of the head and neck with the study unit below: 

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