Original communication| Volume 26, ISSUE 5, P806-809, November 1949

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Variations of the thoracic duct

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      The course and variations of the thoracic duct as observed in 1,081 postmortem examinations are described. There are many more variations than are commonly recognized. Pathologic findings were observed in only fourteen cases. The thoracic duct is always a single duct from the level of the eighth vertebral body to the cisterna chyli, which fact is of importance to thoracic surgeons particularly. The right thoracic duct is not easily demonstrable. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves “That we neither understand our own imbecility, nor the great ability of Him who made us.”
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        • Cruikshank William
        The Anatomy of the Absorbing Vessels of the Human Body.
        1786 (London)