Para-aortic lymph nodes

Last revised by Raymond Chieng on 21 Mar 2023

Para-aortic lymph nodes (often shortened to para-aortic nodes) are part of the retroperitoneal nodes, and are located anterior to the left lumbar trunk 1 and above and below the left renal vein prior to the flow of lymph into the cisterna chyli 2-4.

Right para-aortic nodes together with left paracaval nodes, form the right lumbar chain of nodes around the inferior vena cava.

Left para-aortic nodes communicates with common iliac nodes to drain into the thoracic duct. Para-aortic nodes located below the left renal vessels are points of metastasis from ovarian and other pelvic malignancies through lymphatics around the gonadal vessels even when other pelvic lymph nodes are not involved. This phenomenon occurs despite other groups of lymph nodes such as aortocaval lymph nodes being extensively connected with pelvic nodes 5.

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