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Lymphatics of the small intestine: want to learn more about it?

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Lymphatics of the small intestine

Learning objectives

Completing this study unit will allow you to:

  1. Describe the lymphatic drainage of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum.
  2. Name the primary lymph node groups related to the small intestine.

Watch videos

From distal to proximal the small intestine can be divided into three parts: the ileum, jejunum and duodenum.

The distal part of the ileum is drained by the ileocolic lymph nodes. Lymph drained from the proximal ileum and the jejunum is carried to the juxtaintestinal lymph nodes which are located within the mesentery in close proximity to the small intestine. From here, lymph continues to the superior mesenteric lymph nodes via the intermediate mesenteric lymph nodes, ultimately reaching the cisterna chyli via the intestinal lymph trunk.

The lymph nodes of the duodenum include the superior and inferior pancreaticoduodenal lymph nodes, superior mesenteric lymph nodes, celiac lymph nodes and again drain into the cisterna chyli.

Learn about the lymph nodes of the small intestine in our video! More details on the lymphatics of the duodenum are covered in a separate study unit linked at the end of this page.

Take a quiz

Test your knowledge with the quiz below:

Test your knowledge with a broader topic focus and take our custom quiz about the nerves, vessels and lymphatics of the abdomen!

Browse atlas

Explore each of the lymphatic structures you learned about today in the gallery below.

Summary

Key points about the lymph nodes of the small intestine
Ileum Distal: Ileocolic lymph nodes
Proximal:
Juxtaintestinal lymph nodes → superior mesenteric lymph nodes via intermediate mesenteric lymph nodes
Jejunum Juxtaintestinal lymph nodes → superior mesenteric lymph nodes via intermediate mesenteric lymph nodes
Duodenum Mainly drained by superior and inferior pancreaticoduodenal lymph nodes (in addition to pyloric and inferior pancreatic nodes) → celiac & superior mesenteric lymph nodes

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