Congenital malformations of the cervicothoracic lymphatic system: embryology and pathogenesis.

D. P. Zadvinskis, M. T. Benson, H. H. Kerr, A. A. Mancuso, A. A. Cacciarelli, B. L. Madrazo, M. F. Mafee, K. Dalen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Familiarity with the embryology of the lymphatic system is helpful in understanding the pathogenesis and radiologic appearance of lymphangiomas of the cervicothoracic region. By considering anatomic location and radiologic appearance, one can predict the type of lymphangioma present, the primordial lymph sac from which the malformation arose, and when it formed in embryonic life. Cystic hygromas are composed of large, dilated lymphatic spaces. They form when a primordial lymph sac fails to reestablish communication with the central venous system from which it arose. These lesions may also result from an aberrant bud arising from a primordial lymph sac. Cavernous and capillary lymphangiomas are composed of smaller lymphatic channels. They form from abnormally sequestered buds of the developing lymphatic mesenchyme responsible for the fine meshwork of terminal branches in the periphery of the embryo. Their growth may be inhibited by the relatively tougher tissues in the periphery (eg, skin and muscle) compared with the relatively loose fatty connective tissue in which cystic hygromas form. Not only can all types of lymphangioma occur in one lesion, but lymphatic and vascular malformations may also coexist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1189
Number of pages15
JournalRadiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Congenital malformations of the cervicothoracic lymphatic system: embryology and pathogenesis.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this