Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Types Anatomy

Lymphadenopathy (localized) Anatomy

To better understand lymph gland swelling (localized), it helps to understand the anatomy of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes throughout the body. The system transports a type of white blood cell, called lymphocytes. These cells play a role in fighting infection.

There are two main types of lymphocytes:

  • B lymphocytes
  • T lymphocytes

The lymphatic system performs two major functions:
  • Stores and transports cells that fight infection
  • Removes excess fluid from body tissues

The lymphatic system consists of:
  • Lymph vessels:
    • A network of vessels throughout the body that transport white blood cells called lymphocytes.
    • There are two main types of lymphocytes: B-cells and T-cells.
  • Lymph glands:
    • The lymph vessels connect in many areas known as lymph nodes.
    • The nodes act as filters to fight infection in the body.
    • Lymph nodes can enlarge in response to inflammation.
    • This can occur due to cancer or an infection nearby the lymph vessels.

Anatomy examples:
  • Areas of lymph nodes in the body
  • Areas in the body where lymph nodes can be felt
  • Abnormal lymph node cells due to Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymphatic system around the armpit and breast
  • Lymphatic system in the abdomen

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