The Lymph Drainage Pattern of the Mammary Glands in the Cat: A Lymphographic and Computerized Tomography Lymphographic Study
ABSTRACT Seventy-three clinically normal, lactating cats were used to investigate the lymph drainage of 73 mammary glands. In 50 cats of the first group, the number of lymphatic vessels emerging from the examined mammary gland, their course and the lymph nodes into which they are drained were studied by indirect lymphography (IL) after intramammary injection of an oily contrast medium. In 23 cats of the second group, the lymph drainage of the mammary glands was studied by computerized tomography indirect lymphography (CT-IL) after intramammary injection of a water soluble contrast medium. The following day, the lymph drainage of the mammary gland examined by CT-IL was studied by IL, as it was described in the first group, for comparison purposes. The main conclusions drawn after this study were as follows: lymph drains from the first and second mammary glands with one or rarely two or three lymphatic vessels to the accessory axillary lymph nodes. Lymph drains from the third mammary gland with one or two and rarely three lymphatic vessels usually to the accessory inguinal lymph nodes or to the accessory axillary lymph nodes. In some cases, it drains to both lymph nodes simultaneously or it may rarely drain only to the medial iliac lymph nodes. The fourth mammary gland with one or two and rarely three lymphatic vessels usually drains to the accessory inguinal lymph nodes. It may rarely drain only to the medial iliac lymph nodes. Mammary lymphatic vessels that cross the midline and lymphatic connection between the mammary glands were not demonstrated. No differences in the mammary lymph drainage pattern between IL and CT-IL were found.