What are the five groups of Axillary Lymph Nodes?

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The axillary lymph nodes are scattered in the fibro- fatty tissue of the axilla. They are divided into five groups.

1. The nodes of the anterior (pectoral) group lie along the lateral thoracic vessels, i.e. along the lower border of the pectoralis minor. They receive lymph from the upper half of the anterior wall of the trunk, and from the major part of the breast.

2. The nodes of the posterior (scapular) group lie along the subscapular vessels, on the posterior fold of the axilla. They receive lymph from the posterior wall of the upper half of the trunk, and from the axillary tail of the breast.

3. The nodes of the lateral group lie along the upper part of the humerus, medial to the axillary vein. They receive lymph from the upper limb.

4. The nodes of the central group lie in the fat of the upper axilla. They receive lymph from the preceding groups and drain into the apical group. They receive some direct vessels from the floor of the axilla. The intercostobrachial nerve is closely related to them.

5. The nodes of the apical or infraclavicular group lie deep to the clavipectoral fascia, along the axillary vessels. They receive lymph from the central group, from the upper part of the breast, and from the thumb and its web. The lymphatics from the thumb accompany the cephalic vein.


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