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About CLAs

Lymphatic System

Lymphatic malformations are caused by abnormal growth of lymphatic vessels.

The lymphatic system is a network of tubes or vessels that drain lymph fluid from all over the body and return or deposit that fluid back into major veins in the chest.

Peripheral lymphatic vessels, further away from the chest, are small and become larger as they move closer to the heart. Lymphatic vessels have specialized cells (lymphatic endothelial cells) and valves to keep the lymph moving toward the heart.

The main purpose or role of the lymphatic system is to:

  • maintain fluid levels in your body,
  • absorb fats from the digestive tract, and
  • help fight infections.

Important parts that make up the lymphatic system are:

  • Lymph: clear fluid containing white blood cells that helps clear toxins and waste
  • Lymphatic vessels: small tubes (vessels) that carry lymph throughout the body
  • Lymphatic endothelial cells: specialized cells that line the lymphatic vessels to maintain structure, and valves to keep the lymph moving in one direction