Lymph nodes are a part of the lymphatic system. They are responsible for protecting the body against infections. The neck region comprises of nearly 300 lymph nodes, and collectively it is referred to as cervical lymph nodes. Some of the node groups present in the neck region are listed below.
The Anterior Cervical Lymph Nodes
The anterior cervical lymph nodes in the neck are situated just beneath and above the sternocleidomastoid muscle which allows humans to swivel and flex the head. This group is responsible for checking the lymph from the pharynx, throat, thyroid, tonsils, etc.
Sub-maxillary or Submandibular Lymph Nodes
The submandibular lymph nodes in the neck are located just beneath and on both sides of the jawbone. It processes the lymph present in the pharyngeal and tonsillar areas, and the mouth floor. These lymph nodes in the neck also transfer the lymph occurring in some teeth. Swelling of the submandibular lymph nodes is usually caused due to infections of the neck, scalp, eye, sinuses, pharynx and ears.Mostly, the infections are a result of an underlying case of human herpes virus 5 or Epstein-Barr virus infection, tuberculosis, cat-scratch disease, bacterial infections, or STDs.
Posterior Cervical Lymph Nodes
The posterior cervical lymph nodes in the neck occur at behind the neck, through the line present between the clavicle and the Mastoid part of the temporal bone. It is located in front of the trapezius and at the back of the sternocleidomastoids. Infections of the respiratory tract generally cause these nodes to swell up or become inflamed.
Submental Lymph Nodes
The submental lymph nodes in the neck lie just under the chin. They process the lymph from the central incisors, the center of the lower lip, and the tip of the tongue. This lymph is then forwarded to the deep cervical group and the submandibular lymph nodes.
Deep Cervical Lymph Nodes
The network of nodes which begin at the skull base and stretch along the neckline across the pharynx, trachea, esophagus, and the carotid sheath are collectively referred to as deep cervical lymph nodes in the neck. They are further classified intoinferior deep cervical glands, and superior deep cervical glands.The latter transfers lymph from the occipital head area, the auricular, scalp, thyroid gland, back of neck, nasal section of pharynx, larynx, trachea, esophagus, palate, nose cavities, and the tongue; while the formernode clusters drain the lymph from superficial pectoral area, the back of neck and scalp, superior surface of liver, and a section of the arm. Additionally, they also act as receiving nodes for lymph passing from neck muscles, skin, and the superior deep cervical glands.
Supraclavicular Lymph Nodes
The supraclavicular lymph nodes in the neck are located in clavicle’s hollow, next to the place where it joins the sternum. They check the transfer of lymph from the abdomen and the thoracic cavity.Virchow’s node is present just over the left clavicle. It plays a most important role in transport of lymph from the abdomen. Issues with this node may signify intra-abdominal malignancies, lymphoma, arm infection, or breast cancer.