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Deep lymphatic vessels (breast)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

There are four deep lymphatic channels for drainage of the breast:

  • superior trunk:
    • originates from subareolar plexus around nipple
    • drains from
      • superficial and deep tissue around nipple, areola and periareolar region
      • parenchymal tissues of outer half of the breast
    • pierces fascia at the lateral border of pectoralis major to run to axillary nodes

inferior trunk:

þþ originate in subareolar plexus

  • receives lymphatics from the medial half of the breast
  • takes same route as superior trunk to axilla
  • transpectoral lymphatics:
    • arise from deepest surface of breast
    • pass through pectoralis major
    • pass along route of pectoral branch of thoraco-acromial artery
    • distribute lymph to apical axillary nodes
  • retropectoral lymphatics:
    • originate in the superomedial parts of the deep breast
    • pass laterally deep to pectoralis major
    • supply the apical group of nodes

These must be contrasted with the cutaneous lymphatics.


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