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Bronchomediastinal lymph trunks (anatomy)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The bronchomediastinal lymph trunks are large efferent lymphatic channels draining into the venous system within the neck but originating within the mediastinum. The sources of lymphatics which run into the bronchomediastinal trunks include:

  • sternal - internal thoracic - nodes
  • tracheobronchial lymph nodes
  • superior anterior mediastinal lymph nodes
  • lateral mediastinal nodes via the superior anterior groups

On the right side, the trunk is quite short compared to the left. It lies anterior to the vertebral bodies and medial to the superior part of the azygous vein. It turns laterally, posterior to the right internal jugular vein and anterior to scalenus anterior, above the superior thoracic aperture to join with jugular and subclavian lymph trunks. The combined trunk from all three vessels is the right lymphatic duct.

On the left side, the origin of the trunk is very similar except:

  • it originates lateral to the larger thoracic duct
  • it may drain directly into the thoracic duct

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