is a milky fluid
) consisting of lymph
and emulsified fats
, or free fatty acids
(FFAs). It is formed in the small intestine
during digestion of ingested fatty foods and taken up by lymph vessels specifically known as lacteals
, unlike other components of digested food that are conveyed by veins
. The lacteals are much better suited for the transport of free fatty acids away from the gastrointestinal
tract. Free fatty acids can be rather large molecules. As a vessel of the lymphatic system fluid flows easily into lacteals because there is a lower pressure in those vessels.
A chyle fistula
is a leakage of lymphatic fluid from the lymphatic vessels, typically accumulating in the thoracic or abdominal cavities.