Lymphatic drainage of mouth and oropharynx

The main sites of lymphatic drainage from the mouth and oropharynx are the jugulodigastric, submandibular and submental lymph nodes. Lymph vessels from the gingiva usually drain to the sub-mandibular lymph nodes but those in the lower incisor region run to the submental nodes. Most of the vessels from the palate run to the jugulodigastric group but some involve the retropharyngeal nodes. There is a rich lymphatic plexus in the tongue and the main vessels can be subdivided into marginal and central. The marginal vessels drain the lateral third of the dorsum and contiguous later al border and part of the ventrum of the tongue. They run to the ipsilateral submandibular nodes. Those towards the tip of the tongue drain to the submental nodes. Central lymph vessels drain to the submandibular nodes on both sides. Some marginal and central vessels run directly to the jugulodigastric group but some can pass direct to the jugulo-omo-hyoid nodes. Vessels from the area of the circumvallate papillae and posterior third of the tongue drain to the jugulodigastric, jugulo-omohyoid or intermediate nodes, either unilaterally or bilaterally. Most of the lymphatics of the palatine tonsils drain to the jugulodigastric nodes.

N. Johnson S. Franceschi J. Ferlay K. Ramadas

S. Schmid D.G. MacDonald J.E. Bouquot P.J. Slootweg

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