This is the body's main lymph collecting vessel. It starts in the little collecting bladder in the abdomen (the cisterna chyli), moves up the center of the body in front of the spinal chord, alongside the esophagus and aorta to the neck, where it drains into the left subclavian vein. It drains the lymph from the entire body, except the head, right thorax and arm, which collects lymph separately and drains into the right subclavian vein. Lacking the ability to contract and expand, the thoracic duct relies on its valves and the kinetic energy of breathing and nearby arterial pumping to drain lymph upwards.
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