This video illustrates normal lymphatic anatomy and flow. The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in immune function and in the delivery of vital nutrients to the body. Functioning almost like a sponge, the lymphatic system absorbs excess lymph fluid from the body’s organs and returns it to the blood stream. In a healthy body, the lymphatic channels from the liver and mesentery drain toward the thoracic duct, which is the main lymphatic vessel responsible for lymph drainage. In most people, the thoracic duct drains into the subclavian vein on the left side.
Normal Lymphatic Anatomy and Flow
Yoav Dori, MD, PhD: This is an illustration of normal lymphatic anatomy in flow. Fluid in the lymphatic system flows from the peripheral organs such as the lungs, liver, and intestine towards the center. Most of the fluid collects in the main channel for lymphatic drainage called the thoracic duct shown over here. This fluid flows up, and in most people drains into the subclavian vein on the left side. Two very important streams for lymphatic flow are the liver and intestine. Each of these streams contributes about 40% of the fluid that ultimately makes its way into the thoracic duct.
Related Centers and Programs: Jill and Mark Fishman Center for Lymphatic Disorders