6 Types of Lymph Nodes

There are hundreds of types of lymph nodes present in your body that play a key role in your immune system. Although they are scattered in different locations of your body, and they fight off infections, do you know that these lymph nodes can also become enlarged or cancerous?

This article explains lymph nodes, their types, and how they become cancerous.

What are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes are small kidney-shaped lymphoid organs 1 to 2 cm in size and contain lymphocytes. They are present in different body locations except for the brain and spinal cord. There are about 800 lymph nodes in an adult body, and their function is to filter the lymphatic fluid by exposing it to white blood cells and returning it to the vascular system. 

There are different types of lymph nodes according to location and function. Let’s dive deep into the article to clear concepts!

Types of Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are present in different regions of the body, such as the neck, axilla, groin, abdomen, and thorax, some of them are discussed in detail below. 

Occipital Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes present at the base of your skull and overlying on the occipital bone are known as occipital lymph nodes. They drain the lymphatic fluid from your scalp and upper neck regions. They can be superficial, just beneath the skin or deep in the neck along the occipital vessels. 

Cervical Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes present in your neck are cervical lymph nodes. About 2/3rd of the lymph nodes are present in your neck region. Cervical lymph nodes drain the lymphatic fluid from your head, neck, and face. 

These lymph nodes are further categorized into superficial and deep cervical lymph nodes. The superficial cervical lymph nodes are present near the surface of your skin adjacent to the external jugular vein and drain lymph from the parotid node to the supraclavicular node. In contrast, deep cervical lymph nodes are found deep into the neck region adjacent to the internal jugular vein.

Axillary Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes present in your armpit are called axillary lymph nodes. These lymph nodes drain lymphatic fluid from the breast and nearby regions. These types of lymph nodes further fall into 5 groups which are:

  • Anterior or pectoral drains lymph from the breast, skin, and muscles.
  • Posterior or subscapular that receives lymphatic fluid from the scapular and posterior thoracic region. 
  • Lateral or humeral, which drains fluid from your arm.
  • Central lymph nodes receive lymph from anterior, posterior, and lateral lymph nodes and drain it into apical lymph nodes.  
  • Apical or terminal lymph nodes receive lymphatic fluid from all the above-mentioned lymph nodes and drain into the thoracic duct on the left side and the lymphatic duct on the right side. 

Mediastinal Lymph Nodes

These lymph nodes are present in the mediastinum, an area between the lungs that contains the heart, oesophagus, thymus, and trachea. The normal mediastinal lymph nodes are measured less than 10mm by the short axis. Still, these healthy lymph nodes can be enlarged due to infections or lung disease, such as emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis. 

These lymph nodes drain lymphatic fluid from your heart, lungs, and other organs present in the mediastinal region. 

Mesenteric Lymph Nodes

These types of lymph nodes are present in the abdominal region and drain lymph from the intestines and other organs in the abdomen. Research shows that the mesenteric lymph nodes prevent intestinal bacteria from penetrating the systemic immune system.  

Inguinal Lymph Nodes

Inguinal lymph nodes are present in the femoral triangle of the inguinal region and drain lymphatic fluid from your legs, genital region, umbilicus, and lower abdomen. There are superficial inguinal lymph nodes below the inguinal ligament and deep inguinal lymph nodes within the femoral sheath. 

Pelvic Lymph Nodes

These lymph nodes are in your pelvic region and drain lymphatic fluid from pelvic organs. These lymph nodes are of two types; the parietal pelvic lymph nodes, which include iliac, lumber, and inguinal lymph nodes, and visceral pelvic lymph nodes, which include perivesical lymph nodes of the bladder, vagina, and rectum. 

Other types of lymph nodes, according to the function, are:

  • Terminal lymph nodes are present at the end of lymphatic vessels. These lymph nodes filter the lymphatic fluid before the lymph enters your bloodstream. 
  • Intermediate lymph nodes are located along the lymphatic vessels and filter the lymph when it passes through the nodes. 
  • The collecting lymph nodes collect lymphatic fluid from surrounding regions.

Which Lymph Nodes Are More Likely to Be Cancerous?

Lymph nodes are more likely to be cancerous if your age is above 40 and the lymph nodes, especially near your collarbone, are swollen or enlarged. Swollen nodes in your armpit without any rash or sores are also a sign of being cancerous.  

Apart from this, very hard, large, and immovable lumps in the neck, groin, or armpit region may be signs of cancer. 

What Are the Most Worrisome Lymph Nodes?

The most worrisome lymph nodes are those that lose their normal oval shape, become enlarged or swollen, lose their hilar fat, and show asymmetric thickening. Supraclavicular lymph nodes are more prone to becoming worrisome for malignancy. However, stress can also cause swollen lymph nodes. 

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We offer manual lymphatic drainage that will help drain lymph into the bloodstream, dry brushing that enhances toxins out of the body by stimulating sweat glands and correcting lymphatic flow, and compression therapy that promotes lymphatic drainage and decreases swelling. 

The Bottom Line

Lymph nodes are small kidney-shaped lymphoid glands that play a key role in immunity. They contain lymphocytes that fight off infection and bacteria. There are different types of lymph nodes depending on the location and function, and all of these lymph nodes filter lymphatic fluid and drain it into your vascular system. 

Out of all the lymph nodes, the supraclavicular lymph nodes are more susceptible to getting cancerous and can show worrisome signs like node enlargement, thickening, or swelling.

Contact us at MOCEAN Longevity Centre in NYC right away to ease lymphatic drainage and get instant relief from swollen arms and legs!

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