Sappey plexus

Sappey plexus is a network of lymphatics in the areola of the nipple. Sappey plexus assumes considerable importance in the identification of the sentinel lymph node since the subareolar route is the most straightforward to infiltrate with an injected radiotracer/dye and the most suitable in special cases, such as non-palpable tumors, multicentric or already excised tumors.

Gross anatomy

The breast originates from ectodermal tissue, thus its lymphatic drainage is mostly parallel to the lymph flow of the overlying skin. Lymphatic flow from the skin finds its way to the diffuse subcutaneous plexus between the skin and the superficial fascia. Each lobule of the breast has an extensive lymphatic plexus, that come together to form the Sappey subareolar plexus. The Sappey subareolar plexus and deep fascial plexus are in connection with each other through fibrous strands traversing the breast tissue. All the lymphatics of the breast converge to form the Sappey plexus.

History and etymology

Sappey plexus takes its name from Marie Philibert Constant Sappey (1810-1896) 7, a French anatomist who published his comprehensive atlas in 1874, including an anatomic study of cutaneous lymphatic drainage. Sappey's results demonstrated lymphatic drainage based on anatomic location.

Anatomy: Thoracic
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Article information

rID: 15369
System: Breast
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Sappey's subareolar plexus
  • Sappey's plexus

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