Identify the thin-walled lymphatic vessels, the thoracic duct [probe] [cross-section], which lies posterior to the esophagus and between the azygous vein [ probe] [cross-section ] and the descending aorta. The thoracic duct enters the posterior mediastinum from the abdominal cavity through the aortic hiatus. The thoracic duct lies posterior to the esophagus as it passes through the posterior mediastinum. As it enters the superior mediastinum, it lies on the left side of the esophagus. The thoracic duct then passes through the superior thoracic aperture and joins the venous circulation near the junction of the left subclavian and left internal jugular veins (Figure 21.5).
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