Plantar lymphatic network
Amore M1,2,3, Bernardez R1, Sgarbanti V1, Romeo H2. Lymphology. 2018;51(3):119-124
Anatomical descriptions of the lymphatic system of the foot remain imprecise. In the present report, we aim to elucidate the anatomical lymphatic plantar network in order to improve current clinical practice on the foot. Lower limbs from a total of 25 human cadavers, 4 amputated limbs, and 8 term fetuses were studied. All cadavers were subjected to injection procedures, formalized, immersed in a solution of hydrogen peroxide, and finally dissected. On 6 of the fetal samples, the diaphanization Spatelholz technique was followed. The superficial lymphatic network of the sole is morphologically divided into three plexuses: anterior, medium, and posterior, with the medium differing from the rest. The anterior plexus presents lymphatic vessels forming scarce polygonal figures of considerable size that converge towards the medial edge to constitute ascending trunks. The middle plexus is characterized by the presence of transverse interconnected trunks that extend from one edge to the other of the sole. The posterior plexus presents polygonal figures of smaller size and greater number than the anterior plexus and forms ascending trunks that are directed to the dorsal surface of the foot. These observations demonstrate that the plantar lymphatic network display important differences among the caliber of the lymphatic vessels as well as in the communication and morphological shape of their plexus. Finally, a comparative distribution and organization between the lymphatic and the venous networks was also examined.