Surgical anatomy of the cervical sympathetic trunk

Kiray A., Arman C., Naderi S., Guvencer M., Korman E.

CLINICAL ANATOMY, vol.18, no.3, pp.179-185, 2005 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/ca.20055
  • Journal Name: CLINICAL ANATOMY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.179-185
  • Keywords: anatomy, cervical spine, cervical sympathetic trunk, spinal surgery, ANTERIOR APPROACH, LATERAL APPROACH, FUSION, SPINE, RADICULOPATHY, COMPLICATIONS, DISCECTOMY, GANGLION, NECK
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Lack of knowledge of the anatomy of the cervical sympathetic trunk (CST) may complicate surgical procedures on the cervical spine. This study aims to define linear and angular relations of the CST with respect to consistent Structures around it, including the number and size of the cervical ganglia, the distances between the CST and the longus colli muscle and the anterior tubercles of the transverse processes of cervical vertebrae. Morphometric parameters of the 24 CSTs of 12 adults were measured on both sides. The CST had superior, middle, and inferior (or cervicothoracic) ganglia in 20.8% of specimens; superior and inferior (or cervicothoracic) ganglia in 45.8%; superior, middle, vertebral, inferior, or cervicothoracic ganglia in 12.5%, and superior, vertebral, inferior or cervicothoracic ganglia in 20.8% of specimens. The superior ganglion was observed in all specimens, the middle ganglion and vertebral ganglion were each observed in 33.3%. There was no difference between the number of superior and vertebral Ganglia between the right and left sides. The average distance between the CST and the medial border of the ipsilateral longus colli muscle (LCM) was 17.2 mm at C3 and 12.4 mm at C7. As the CSTs converged caudally, the LCMs diverged. The average distance between the anterior tubercles of transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae and the lateral borders of the ipsilateral CST was 3.4 mm at C4, 3.2 min at C5, and 3.9 min at C6. The presence of a vertebral ganglion and variations, such as the localization of the CST within the carotid sheath, are important. The anatomical landmarks described should assist the spinal surgeon to avoid injury of the CST. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss. Inc.