Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Mesenteric Lymphadenitis Anatomy

To better understand mesenteric lymphadenitis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lymphatic system.

Lymphatic System Anatomy
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

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Mesenteric Lymphadenitis References
  1. El Braks R, Harnois F, Boutros N, Fallik D, Roudie J, Smadja C, De Laveaucoupet J, Chaput JC, Naveau S, Mathurin P. Mesenteric adenitis and portal vein thrombosis due to Fusobacterium nucleatum. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Oct;16(10):1063-6. [15371934]
  2. Puylaert JB. Ultrasonography of the acute abdomen: gastrointestinal conditions. Radiol Clin North Am. 2003 Nov;41(6):1227-42, vii. [14661668]
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