Citation, DOI and article data
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. 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:
- 1. Gollub MJ, Castellino RA. The cisterna chyli: a potential mimic of retrocrural lymphadenopathy on CT scans. Radiology. 1996;199 (2): 477-80. Radiology (abstract) - Pubmed citation
- 2. Verma SK, Mitchell DG, Bergin D et-al. The cisterna chyli: enhancement on delayed phase MR images after intravenous administration of gadolinium chelate. Radiology. 2007;244 (3): 791-6. doi:10.1148/radiol.2443061518 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Erden A. Cisterna chyli: an incidental finding on MR cholangiopancreatography. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004;182 (1): 262. AJR Am J Roentgenol (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 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
- 5. Smith TR, Grigoropoulos J. The cisterna chyli: incidence and characteristics on CT. Clin Imaging. 26 (1): 18-22. Clin Imaging (link) - Pubmed citation
- 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