The lymphatic system

The lymph or lymphatic system is an important part of our body's system to protect us from .

Lymph travels around the body through a network of vessels in much the same way that blood travels around the body through the blood vessels. Whereas the blood carries nutrients and other substances into our tissues, the lymph vessels drain fluid from the tissues and transport it to the lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes are small gland-like masses of tissue which filter out and destroy and other harmful substances. The bigger lymph vessels then carry the cleaned fluid back to the vein called the superior vena cava, where it enters the blood stream.

Illustration: The lymphatic system

Menche N. (ed.) Biologie Anatomie Physiologie. Munich: Urban & Fischer/ Elsevier; 2012.

Pschyrembel W. Klinisches Wörterbuch. Berlin: De Gruyter; 2014.

Schmidt R, Lang F, Heckmann M. Physiologie des Menschen: mit Pathophysiologie. Heidelberg: Springer; 2011.

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Updated on January 7, 2015
Next planned update: 2021

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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