Cisterna chyli

Case contributed by Dr Bruno Di Muzio


Finding in a patient with chronic abdominal pain.

Patient Data

Age: 79
Gender: Female

MRI abdomen

A small saccular area of fluid signal at the L1–L2 level of the vertebral body, in the retrocrural space and immediate right of the abdominal aorta. On the third sequence (Axial T2 fat-sat) is possible to see that this saccular area receives the two lumbar lymphatic trunks, right and left. 

Case Discussion

The cisterna chyli is a saccular area of dilatation in the lymphatic channels that originates at the level of the L1/2 vertebral body and extend 5-7 cm in the caudocephalic direction. It is located in the retrocrural space, usually to the immediate right of the abdominal aorta.

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Case information

rID: 25421
Case created: 25th Oct 2013
Last edited: 18th May 2017
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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