Axillary lymph node group

The body has about 20 to 30 bean-shaped axillary lymph nodes located in the underarm area. These lymph nodes are responsible for draining lymph from the breasts and surrounding areas, including the neck, the upper arms, and the underarm area. They are large in size and are arranged into five groups: subscapular axillary (posterior), apical (medial or subclavicular), pectoral axillary (anterior), brachial (lateral), and central lymph nodes. The subscapular axillary lymph nodes are located on the lower part of the axilla's posterior wall. The apical and pectoral nodes are located respectively on the upper and lower parts of the pectoralis minor. The brachial nodes are located relative to the axillary vein's medial and posterior portions. The central axillary lymph nodes are located inside the adipose tissue near the axilla's base. Breast cancer develops as a lump in the breast, but often spreads to the axillary lymph nodes, which allows it to access the lymphatic system and travel to other areas of the body. During surgical procedures to remove breast cancer lumps, including lumpectomies and partial, modified radical, radical, or total mastectomies, surgeons often remove some of the axillary lymph nodes to determine whether the breast cancer has spread.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Axillary lymph node group

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