Lymphatic drainage

  • Lymph nodes are variable in size, number and location

  • Four main groups

  • Named according to the arteries which tjeu are associated

  • Some small nodes lie in the connective tissue along the pathways of various branches of the internal iliac artery.

Sacral nodes
Internal iliac nodes
External iliac nodes
Common iliac nodes

  • Lie in the hollow of the sacrum

  • Receive vessels from pelvic, perineal and gluteal regions

  • Drain to the internal iliac or common iliac nodes
  • Arranged around the internal iliac artery

  • Receive vessels from pelvic viscera, perineum and buttock

  • Drain to common iliac nodes
  • Arranged around the external iliac artery

  • Receive vessels from superficial and deep inguinal nodes, some pelvic viscera and abdominal wall below umbilicus

  • Drain to common iliac nodes
  • Receive drainage from external and internal iliac nodes and sacraol nodes

  • Drain into the lumbar group of nodes

Summary of pelvic viscera drainage


Node (s)

Ovary (along ovarian a.)


Uterine tube (except part near uterus) (along ovarian a.)


Upper part of the body
Lower  part of the body
Region near uterine tube (along round ligament)
Upper part (along uterine a.)


External iliac,
External iliac, internal iliac, and sacral
Superficial inguinal

External and internal iliac

Middle part (along vaginal a.)
Lower part
Part below hymen (with those from vulva and skin of perineum)

Internal iliac
Internal iliac
Sacral and common iliac
Superficial inguinal

Testis and epididymis (along testicular a.)


Seminal vesicle

External and internal iliac

Ductus deferens (pelvic portion)

External iliac


Internal iliac mainly; sacral and external iliac


Superficial inguinal

Penis (clitoris) Skin and prepuce

Superficial inguinal
Deep inguinal and external iliac

Ureter (lower part)

External or internal iliac

Superior and inferolateral aspects

External iliac
External iliac mainly; internal iliac


Sacral and common iliac

Female (along internal pudendal a.)
Male prostatic and membranous parts (along internal pudendal)
Spongy part


Internal iliac mainly; external iliac
Internal iliac mainly; external iliac

Deep inguinal mainly; external iliac

Upper part
Lower part


Inferior mesenteric
Sacral, internal iliac, and common iliac

Anal canal
Above pectinate line (along inferior rectal and internal pudendal)
Below pectinate line


Internal iliac

Superficial inguinal