We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What are the Mesenteric Lymph Nodes?

By Katriena Knights
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Mesenteric lymph nodes are the 100 to 150 lymph nodes that lie within the mesentery, a double-layered section of peritoneum, the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. Peritoneum consists of connective tissue and mesothelium, a specialized membrane that produces a lubricating fluid. This fluid allows organs to move easily within the abdominal cavity. Mesothelium is best known as a part of the lungs, where it can be affected by a particular form of cancer called mesothelioma. Mesentery membranes not only help protect the internal organs but also play a key role in ensuring sufficient oxygen and nutrients are delivered.

Located in the lower abdomen, the mesenteric lymph nodes lie throughout the various intestinal loops and close to the superior mesenteric artery, one of the major blood vessels that supplies the intestines and lower abdominal organs with blood and oxygen. Part of the lymphatic system, these lymph nodes are a vital part of the immune system that helps the body fight disease. The lymphatic system itself spreads throughout the entire body, carrying specialized cells that trigger immune system responses when necessary.

Under certain circumstances, the mesenteric lymph nodes can become inflamed. This condition is referred to as mesenteric lymphadenitis, and it can stem from several causes. One common cause is a general infection of the large intestine or other parts of the intestinal system from bacterial, viral or parasitic causes. When infection sets in, the lymph nodes often respond by becoming enlarged as they work to fight off the infection. Abscesses in the lower abdomen or peritonitis, which is an infection of the peritoneum, can also cause the mesenteric lymph nodes to swell.

Symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis are similar to those of appendicitis, including abdominal pain and fever. Unlike appendicitis, this type of inflammation of the mesenteric lymph nodes usually will resolve on its own without invasive treatment or surgery. Rarely serious, this problem is seen most often in children in conjunction with an intestinal infection.

Another less common and much more serious cause of inflammation of the mesenteric lymph nodes is cancer. Several kinds of cancer can lead to mesenteric lymphadenitis, including cancer that is centered in the gastrointestinal tract and more widespread cancers that affect all of the lymph nodes, such as lymphoma. Enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes are often discovered during abdominal CAT scans. If the cause of the inflammation is not immediately apparent, a biopsy might be necessary to diagnose or rule out cancer.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon319121 — On Feb 11, 2013

I had a CT guided biopsy done of lymph nodes last week. They gave me mild sedation so I didn't feel too much. They went in from my back, so I was a little sore for a few days.

By anon160006 — On Mar 14, 2011

I have to have a biopsy done on my mesenteric lymph nodes, anybody let me know what to expect. --Alan

By AngelChaser — On Feb 16, 2011

@JillT – there are three possible ways the biopsy might be performed. The first is to stick a very fine needle into the lymph node to remove a small sample of cells to look at. I don’t know how big the lymph node is that the doctor wants to take a sample of, but this type of biopsy is only done on big lymph nodes. The second type of biopsy is called a core needle biopsy, which uses a needle that has a special tip on it. The needle goes through the skin to the lymph node and takes a tissue sample that’s about the size of a pencil lead. If the doctor wants to take a large sample of lymph node, or the entire lymph node, he’ll do an open biopsy, which makes a cut in the skin and removes the lymph node. This procedure can also be called a lymph node dissection if more than one lymph node is taken. Prior to the procedure, be sure to let your doctor know if you are taking any medicines, are allergic to any medicines including anesthetics, are allergic to latex, have any bleeding problems or are taking blood thinners, or if you are or think you might be pregnant.

By JillT — On Feb 14, 2011

I’m glad I found this article, I actually have to have a biopsy done on my mesenteric lymph nodes soon. Can anyone tell me what to expect during this procedure?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.