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Superior cervical ganglion

Other Terms: Superior cervical sympathetic ganglion, Ganglion cervicale superius, Ganglion cervical supérieur


The superior cervical ganglion is the largest of the three ganglia that lie in each side of the neck. It is a long, fusiform body situated opposite the transverse processes of the second and third cervical vertebrae, behind the sheath of the great vessels. It communicates with four spinal nerves. It gives off an ascending and a descending branch, branches to cranial and cervical nerves, branches which follow the external carotid artery and its branches, pharyngeal branches, laryngeal branches, and the superior cardiac nerves. The ascending branch passes upward through the carotid canal with the internal carotid artery. It divides into an external and internal branch. Its external branch forms the carotid plexus. Its internal branch forms the cavernous plexus. The descending branch passes downward to the middle cervical ganglion. The branches to the cranial nerves communicate with the ganglia of the root and trunk of the pneumogastric nerve, the petrous ganglion of the glossopharyngeal nerve, and the hypoglossal nerve. No branches pass to the spinal accessory nerve. The branches to the spinal nerves pass outward over the rectus capitis anticus major muscle to join the upper four cervical nerves. The branches which ramify upon the external carotid artery and its branches proceed from the upper part of the ganglion. The nervi molles upon the external carotid artery supply branches to the intercarotid body. The nervi molles of the facial artery branches to the submaxillary ganglion The pharyngeal branches pass inward behind the internal and external carotid arteries. It assists in forming the pharyngeal plexus. The laryngeal branches join the superior laryngeal nerve. The superior cervical sympathetic cardiac nerve arises from the lower part of the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion, or from the cord which runs to the middle cervical ganglion. It runs downward behind the carotid sheath. It communicates with the superior cardiac branch of the pneumogastric, the external laryngeal, and the recurrent laryngeal nerve. In the chest, the two nerves take different courses. The right superior cervical sympathetic cardiac nerve passes in front of or behind the first portion of the subclavian artery, following the innominate artery, and terminating in the deep cardiac plexus. On the left side, the nerve passes between the left common carotid and the left subclavian artery, and over the left side of the arch of the aorta, to the left of the left pneumogastric nerve, terminating in the superficial cardiac plexus.


Ganglion cervicale superius


Ganglion cervical supérieur


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