Inguinal lymph nodes

Inguinal lymph nodes are lymph nodes in the human groin. Located in the femoral triangle of the inguinal region, they are grouped into superficial and deep lymph nodes. The superficial have three divisions: the superomedial, superolateral, and inferior superficial.

Inguinal lymph nodes
  1. Superomedial superficial inguinal
  2. Superolateral superficial inguinal
  3. Inferior superficial inguinal
  4. Deep inguinal lymph nodes
The lymph glands and lymphatic vessels of the lower extremity in males.
SystemLymphatic system
Drains frommost of perineal region
Drains toabdominal region of lymph nodes
Latinnodi lymphoidei inguinales superficiales
Anatomical terminology

Superficial inguinal lymph nodes

  • The superficial inguinal lymph nodes are the inguinal lymph nodes that form a chain immediately below the inguinal ligament. They lie deep to the fascia of Camper that overlies the femoral vessels at the medial aspect of the thigh. They are bounded superiorly by the inguinal ligament in the femoral triangle; laterally by the border of the sartorius muscle, and medially by the adductor longus muscle.

They are divided into three groups:

  • inferior – inferior of the saphenous opening of the leg, receive drainage from lower legs
  • superolateral – on the side of the saphenous opening, receive drainage from the side buttocks and the lower abdominal wall.
  • superomedial – located at the middle of the saphenous opening, take drainage from the perineum and genitals.[1]

There are approximately ten superficial lymph nodes, and they drain to the deep inguinal lymph nodes. Inguinal lymph nodes may normally be up to 2 cm in size.[2]

They receive lymphatic afferents from the following:

Deep inguinal lymph nodes

There can be three, four or five deep inguinal lymph nodes. They lie medial to the femoral vein under the cribriform fascia. The uppermost node is in the groin, under the inguinal ligament, and is called Cloquet's node (also Rosenmuller's node).[3] This node is named for French surgeon Jules Germain Cloquet,[4][5] or for German anatomist Johann Christian Rosenmüller.[6][7] It can also be considered as the lowest of the external iliac lymph nodes.[8] Cloquet's node is also considered as a potential sentinel lymph node.[3][9]

The deep inguinal lymph nodes drain superiorly to the external iliac lymph nodes, then to the pelvic lymph nodes and on to the paraaortic lymph nodes.[10]

Lymph node size

The mean size of an inguinal lymph node, as measured over the short-axis, is approximately 5.4 mm (range 2.1-13.6 mm), with two standard deviations above the mean being 8.8 mm.[11] A size of up to 10 mm is generally regarded as a cut-off value for normal vs abnormal inguinal lymph node size.[12]

Clinical significance

The presence of swollen inguinal lymph nodes is an important clinical sign because lymphadenopathy (swelling) may indicate an infection, or spread as a metastasis from cancers, such as anal cancer and vulvar cancer. Inguinal lymph nodes may normally be up to 2 cm.[2] The cut-off value for normal sized inguinal nodes is up to 10 mm.[12]

Additional images


  1. "Superficial Inguinal Lymph Nodes -- Medical Definition". Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  2. "Assessment of lymphadenopathy". BMJ Best Practice. Retrieved 2017-03-04. Last updated: Last updated: Feb 16, 2017
  3. Zhu Y, Zhang SL, Ye DW, et al. (May 2009). "Prospectively packaged ilioinguinal lymphadenectomy for penile cancer: the disseminative pattern of lymph node metastasis". J. Urol. 181 (5): 2103–8. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2009.01.041. PMID 19286211.
  4. synd/2657 at Who Named It?
  5. Loukas M, El-Sedfy A, Tubbs RS, Wartman C (November 2007). "Jules Germain Cloquet (1790-1883)--drawing master and anatomist". Am Surg. 73 (11): 1169–72. PMID 18092657.
  6. "Whonamedit - dictionary of medical eponyms".
  7. "node of Cloquet". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  8. "Clinical Sidelights to Core Concepts in Anatomy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
  9. Shen P, Conforti AM, Essner R, Cochran AJ, Turner RR, Morton DL (2000). "Is the node of Cloquet the sentinel node for the iliac/obturator node group?". Cancer J. 6 (2): 93–7. PMID 11069226.
  10. "lymph nodes and nerves". Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  11. Bontumasi, Nicholas; Jacobson, Jon A.; Caoili, Elaine; Brandon, Catherine; Kim, Sung Moon; Jamadar, David (2014). "Inguinal lymph nodes: size, number, and other characteristics in asymptomatic patients by CT". Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy. 36 (10): 1051–1055. doi:10.1007/s00276-014-1255-0. ISSN 0930-1038. PMID 24435023.
  12. Maha Torabi, MD;, Suzanne L. Aquino; and Mukesh G. Harisinghani (2004-09-01). "Current Concepts in Lymph Node Imaging". J Nucl Med. 45 (9): 1509–1518.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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