Cervico-Thoracic Ganglion: Its Clinical Implications

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Lesions of the cervicothoracic ganglion (CTG) result in interruption of sympathetic fibers to the head, neck, upper limb, and thoracic viscera. The accurate understanding of the anatomy of the CTG is relevant to sympathectomy procedures that may be prescribed in cases where conventional intervention has failed. This study documents the incidence and distribution of the CTG to avoid potential complications such as Horner’s syndrome and cardiac arrhythmias. This study utilized 48 cadavers, in which a total of 89 sympathetic chains were dissected. The inferior cervical ganglion (ICG) and the first thoracic ganglion was fused in 75 cases (84.3%) to form the CTG. It was present bilaterally in 48 of these specimens (65.3%). Three different shapes of CTG were differentiated, viz. spindle, dumbbell, and an inverted ‘‘L’’ shape. The dumbbell and inverted ‘‘L’’ shapes demonstrated a definite ‘‘waist’’ (i.e., a macroscopically visible union of the ICG and T1 components of the CTG). Rami from the CTG was distributed to the brachial plexus, the subclavian and vertebral arteries, the brachiocephalic trunk, and the cardiac plexus. This study demonstrates a high incidence of a double cardiac sympathetic nerve arising from CTG. It is therefore imperative that in the technique of sympathectomy, for intractable anginal pain, the surgeon excises both these rami but does not destroy the ganglion itself. The ever-improving technology in endoscopic surgery has made investigations into the nuances of the anatomy of the sympathetic chain essential. Clin. Anat. 19:323–326, 2006.
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Pather, Nalini
Partab, P
Singh, B
Satyapal, KS
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty