Sappey plexus

Sappey plexus is a network of lymphatics in the areola of the nipple.

The breast is originally an ectodermal tissue, thus its lymphatic drainage is mostly parallel to the lymph flow of the overlying skin. Lymphatic flow from the skin finds its way to the diffuse subcutaneous plexus between the skin and the superficial fascia. Each lobule of the breast tissue has an extensive lymphatic plexus, that are merged to form Sappey subareolar plexus. Sappey subareolar plexus and deep fascial plexus are in connection with each other through fibrous strands traversing the breast tissue. All the lymphatic of the breast converge into the Sappey plexus. 

Sappey plexus assumes considerable importance in the identification of  the sentinel lymph node, since the subareolar way would be the most convenient for its semplicity to be injected and the most suitable in special cases, such as non-palpable tumours, multicentric or already excised tumours. 

History and etymology

Sappey plexus takes its name from Marie Philibert Constant Sappey, a French anatomist who published his comprehensive atlas in 1874, including an anatomic study of cutaneous lymphatic drainage. Sappey's results demonstrated lymphatic drainage based on anatomic location.


Thoracic anatomy
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Article Information

rID: 15369
System: Breast
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Sappey's subareolar plexus
  • Sappey's plexus

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