Definition: the largest lymph vessel in the body, beginning at the cisterna chyli at about the level of the second lumbar vertebra; the abdominal part extends superiorly to pass through the aortic hiatus in the diaphragm, where it becomes the thoracic part and ascends through the posterior mediastinum to form the arch of the thoracic duct in the root of the neck and discharge into the left venous angle (origin of the brachiocephalic vein).
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