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Lymph Vessels

Written by Amy Hall
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What Are Lymph Vessels?

Lymph vessels are thin tubes that run throughout the body. These tubes carry a colorless liquid called lymph. Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates around the body tissues, and it contains a high number of lymphocytes (white blood cells).

Plasma leaks out of the capillaries to surround and bathe the body tissues. This liquid then drains into the lymph vessels, and flows throughout the lymphatic system to the biggest lymph vessel--the thoracic duct. The thoracic duct then empties back into the blood circulation.

The Lymphatic System

Along these tubes (lymph vessels) are small bean-shaped glands or 'nodes'. Some of the lymph nodes in the neck and underarm area can be felt when pressure is applied with the hands. There are also lymph nodes in the groin (which can be felt), and the abdomen and pelvis, which you can not feel.

Other organs that make up the lymphatic system are the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and adenoids. The spleen is under your ribs on the left side of your body, and acts as a filter of lymph fluid. The thymus is under the breast bone and helps to produce white blood cells. The tonsils are two glands in the back of the throat that help to protect the entrance to the digestive system and the lungs from bacteria and viruses; the adenoids also help the tonsils to carry out this action.

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