QS Study

Lymphatic Drainage of the Tongue

The tongue is a muscular organ situated at the floor of the mouth. It is an important organ of the body, an organ that allows you to chew, swallow, and talk. The tongue is divided into right and left halves by a middle fibrous septum. Its lymphatic drainage is mentioned below. The tip of the tongue drains bilaterally to the submental nodes.

The right and left halves of the remaining part of the anterior two-thirds of the tongue drain unilaterally to the submandibular nodes. A few central lymphatics drain bilaterally to the same nodes.

The lymphatic drainage of the tongue is as follows:

  • Anterior two thirds – initially into the submental and submandibular nodes, which empty into the deep cervical lymph nodes
  • Posterior third – directly into the deep cervical lymph nodes

The posterior one-third of the tongue drain bilaterally to the jugulo-omohyoid nodes. Since most of the lymph from the tongue drains into the jugulo-omohyoid nodes, these are known as the lymph nodes of the tongue. The lymph vessels of the soft palate drained into the lateral pharyngeal and/or subdigastric nodes. It is a benefit for clinical management.

Lymphatic Drainage of the Tongue 1

Fig – Lymphatic drainage of the tongue

Lymphatic drainage of the tongue is very complex. There are three types of lymphatic vessels –

  • Marginal vessels – They drain lymphatic vessels to submental nodes, jugulo-omohyoid nodes, and the jugulodigastric node.
  • Central vessels – They end in the submandibular lymph nodes and the jugulo-diagastric and the jugulo-omohyoid nodes.
  • Dorsal vessels – They end in the jugulodigastric and the jugulo-omohyoid nodes
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