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The periaortic lymph nodes (also known as lumbar) are a group of lymph nodes that lie in front of the lumbar vertebrae near the aorta. These lymph nodes receive drainage from the gastrointestinal tract and the abdominal organs.

Periaortic lymph nodes
Lymph node regions.svg
Lymph nodes (Paraaortic labeled in center in blue.)
Illu lymph chain07.jpg
Left Lumbar Lymph Nodes (Paraaortic Lymph Nodes)
1. Lateral aortic
2. Preaortic
3. Postaortic
4. Intermediate Lumbar

Right Lumbar Lymph Nodes (Paracaval Lymph Nodes)
5. Lateral caval
6. Precaval
7. Postcaval
SystemLymphatic system
Anatomical terminology

Periaortic and paraaortic nodes should not be confused! The periaortic group is the general group, that is subdivided into: preaortic, paraaortic, and retroaortic groups. The paraaortic group is a synonymous for the lateral aortic group.



The periaortic lymph node group is divided into three subgroups: preaortic, paraaortic, and retroaortic:

The right paraaortic nodes, are situated partly in front of the inferior vena cava near the termination of the renal vein, and partly behind it on the origin of the psoas major, and on the right crus of diaphragm.

The left paraaortic nodes form a chain on the left side of the abdominal aorta in front of the origin of the psoas major and on the left crus of the diaphragm.

The paraaortic and retroaortic nodes receive:

Most of the efferent vessels from the paraaortic nodes converge to form the right and left lumbar trunks which join the cisterna chyli, but some enter the preaortic and retroaortic lymph nodes, and others pierce the crura of the diaphragm to join the lower end of the thoracic duct.


The lateral aortic lymph nodes, typically 15 to 20 on each side, are the ones usually chosen for dissection or biopsy in the treatment or diagnosis of cancer.

A dissection usually includes the region from the bifurcation of the aorta to the superior mesenteric artery or the renal veins.

Additional imagesEdit


Standring et al. - Gray's Anatomy, The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice [41th edition, 2016]

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