Lymphatic drainage of the gallbladder

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Based upon detailed dissections of the lymphatic system in adult cadavers, the lymphatic drainage of the gallbladder was divided into three pathways: (1) The cholecystoretropancreatic pathway, which had two routes, one running spirally from the anterior surface of the common bile duct to the right rear, and the other running almost straight down from the posterior surface of the common bile duct. These routes converged at the principal retroportal node at the posterior surface of the head of the pancreas. (2) The cholecysto-celiac pathway; this was the route running to the left through the hepatoduodenal ligament to reach the celiac nodes. (3) The cholecysto-mesenteric pathway; this was the route running to the left in front of the portal vein to connect with the nodes at the superior mesenteric root. The cholecysto-retropancreatic pathway can be regarded as the main pathway, and the principal retroportal node appeared to be critical as the main terminal node in the visceral lymphatic system of the gallbladder. These three pathways converged with the abdomino-aortic lymph nodes near the left renal vein, and the nodes in the interaortico-caval space were considered to be of particular importance.

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