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The cisterna chyli (CC) (plural: cisternae chyli), also known as the receptaculum chyli, is a normal anatomical structure in the lymphatic system. It is seen as a saccular area of dilatation in the lymphatic channels that are located in the retrocrural space, usually to the immediate right of the origin of the abdominal aorta.
It is an elongated, sac-like structure formed by the junction of a variable number of lumbar, intestinal, liver and descending intercostal lymphatic trunks 7. It extends 5-7 cm in the caudocephalad axis, but the size varies greatly with patient position.
Receives lymph from the abdominal viscera as well as the abdominal wall (below the level of the umbilicus), non-alimentary viscera and lower extremities.
anterior: right crus of the diaphragm
posterior: L1 and L2 vertebral bodies
left lateral: abdominal aorta
right lateral: azygos vein
The signal intensity characteristics of the cisterna chyli on MRI are the same as those for static or slow-moving fluids with high signal intensity on fluid-sensitive MRI sequences 3.
History and etymology
On CT consider:
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- 4. Pinto PS, Sirlin CB, Andrade-barreto OA et-al. Cisterna chyli at routine abdominal MR imaging: a normal anatomic structure in the retrocrural space. Radiographics. 24 (3): 809-17. doi:10.1148/rg.243035086 - Pubmed citation
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- 6. Natale G, Bocci G, Ribatti D. Scholars and scientists in the history of the lymphatic system. (2017) Journal of anatomy. 231 (3): 417-429. doi:10.1111/joa.12644 - Pubmed
- 7. Kiyonaga M, Mori H, Matsumoto S, Yamada Y, Sai M, Okada F. Thoracic Duct and Cisterna Chyli: Evaluation with Multidetector Row CT. BJR. 2012;85(1016):1052-8. doi:10.1259/bjr/19379150 - Pubmed