LYMPH FLUID ANATOMYMicroscopic lymphatic capillaries create the beginning of the lymphatic system. These lymphatic capillaries are closed ended tubular formations which create large and intricate networks in the intercellular spaces of most of the body’s tissue. An example of this would be within the villi of the small intestines.
LYMPH FLUID STRUCTUREHere, the lymphactic capillaries are known as lacteals and they are used for the transportation of the products produces by fat absorption away from the GI tract. Endothelial cells create the inner walls of the capillaries, which are porous, absorbed fats, proteins, interstitial fluid, and microorganisms are able to enter the capillaries without much effort.
Once fluids begin their journey within the capillary walls, it is referred to as lymph fluid. Over-saturation of interstitial fluid within the capillaries is a medical condition known as edema, and results from poor drainage of the lymph fluid.
Lymph fluid travels through the smaller capillaries which them merges and empties into larger vessels known as lymph ducts. The inner walls of the lymph ducts are very similar to the inner walls of veins. Aside from the valves which are designed to prevent back-flow, they are also designed with the same three layers which create that the walls of veins have.
LYMPH FLUID DIAGRAM
Skeletal muscles and their tendency to contract creates a massaging motion that produces the friction necessary for the flow of the lymph fluid to continuously move throughout the network. Intestinal movement also contributes to the motion, as does the occasional peristaltic action of the lymphatic vessels themselves. The valves keep the lymph fluid flowing in the appropriate direction. The lymph ducts continuously connect and then interconnect until finally they empty into one of two main vessels.
The thoracic duct is larger than the right lymphatic duct and drains the lymph fluid received from the lower extremities, the abdominal region, left thoracic area, left upper extremity, as well as the left side of the neck and the left side of the head. This vessel’s main section then follows the spinal column until finally it drains directly into the subclavian vein.
LYMPH FLUID FUNCTIONSThe thoracic duct has an enlargement which resembles a sac within the abdominal region. The enlargement is known as the cisterna chili and it is responsible for the collection of lymph fluid from the intestinal area and the lower extremities.
The right lymphatic duct is smaller and it is responsible for draining the lymphatic fluid from the right side of the head and neck, the right upper extremity, and the right thoracic region. The right lymphatic duct then drains the collected lymph fluid directly into the subclavian vein, near the area of the jugular vein.