MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Quick Facts

Overview of the Lymphatic System

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Get the full details
Topic Resources

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is a network of lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes that carry fluid called lymph. The lymphatic system is part of your immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more , which helps defend against infection and cancer.

Lymph is fluid that oozes out of your tiniest blood vessels. The fluid goes between your cells and brings nourishment and carries away damaged cells, cancer cells, and germs.

Lymphatic vessels are tiny tubes that carry lymph from your tissues to lymph nodes and then from the lymph nodes back into your blood vessels.

Lymph nodes are collection points full of specialized white blood cells White Blood Cells The main components of blood include Plasma Red blood cells White blood cells Platelets read more White Blood Cells that filter out the germs and cells from lymph. These nodes and white blood cells help your body defend against infection and cancer. That's why sometimes an infection or cancer makes nearby lymph nodes swell up Swollen Lymph Nodes Lymph nodes are part of your lymphatic system, which helps fight infection and cancer. Lymph nodes are pea-sized collection points that filter out germs and cells from lymph fluid. Lymph nodes... read more . For example, a throat infection can make lymph nodes in your neck swell up. People call these "swollen glands," but lymph nodes aren't really glands.

You have lymphatic vessels all around your body. Lymph nodes tend to cluster in certain places such as on the side of your neck, under your arms, or in your groin.

Lymphatic System: Helping Defend Against Infection

Lymphatic System: Helping Defend Against Infection

What is the immune system?

  • Germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi

  • Parasites

  • Cancer cells

  • Other things that can get inside your body, such as pollen

The important parts of your immune system include:

  • White blood cells

  • Antibodies

  • The lymphatic system

What can go wrong with the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system may not work well because of:

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
OTHER TOPICS IN THIS CHAPTER
Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Nasal Congestion and Discharge
Nasal congestion and discharge are very common. They usually occur together but may occasionally occur separately. Several conditions can cause nasal congestion and discharge. Which of the following is the most common cause?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP