Popliteal lymph nodes

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 29 Dec 2020

The popliteal lymph nodes (often shortened to the popliteal nodes) are the deep lymph nodes within the popliteal fossa of the knee, proximate to the popliteal vessels.

Most individuals have between two to nine popliteal lymph nodes, which form a small cluster, in close proximity to the nerves and major vessels, and enveloped by fatty tissue, which lie deep to the deep fascia.

They drain lymph from superficial lymphatic vessels, which accompany the small saphenous vein, as well as, deep areas of the leg and foot. Rarely they also drain the overlying skin. They drain into the deep and superficial inguinal lymph nodes.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: lymphatics of the popliteal fossa (Gray's illustration)
    Drag here to reorder.