Lymphatic System of the Lower Extremity
The superficial lymphatic vessels drain the superficial tissues, beginning in lymphatic plexuses beneath the skin. The foot is drained by a group of larger medial vessels following the path of the great saphenous vein and a lateral group of smaller vessels that follows the small saphenous vein in the calf and thigh (Fig. 24.1).
The lymphatics of the medial group follow the great saphenous vein up to the groin, ending in the lower group of the superficial inguinal lymph nodes (Fig. 24.2). The lateral group of lymphatic vessels follows the small saphenous vein, ending in the popliteal lymph nodes. Some of these lymphatic vessels, however, will cross to the front of the leg, joining the medial group. The buttock lymphatic drainage is oriented to the upper group of the superficial inguinal lymph nodes.