Sympathetic trunk

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Nerve: Sympathetic trunk
Gray847.png
Abdominal portion of the sympathetic trunk, with the celiac plexus and hypogastric plexus. (Sympathetic trunk labeled at center left.)
Gray799.svg
Scheme showing pathways (white/grey rami are spatially reversed, possibly for clarity?) of a typical spinal nerve.
1. Somatic efferent.
2. Somatic afferent.
3,4,5. Sympathetic efferent.
6,7. Parasympathetic afferent.
Latin truncus sympathicus
Gray's p.976

The sympathetic trunks (sympathetic chain, gangliated cord) are a paired bundle of nerve fibers that run from the base of the skull to the coccyx.

Structure[edit]

The sympathetic trunk (T1-L2) travels in a downward direction from the skull, just lateral to the vertebral bodies. It interacts with the spinal nerves or their ventral rami by way of rami communicantes.

The superior end of it is continued upward through the carotid canal into the skull, and forms a plexus on the internal carotid artery; the inferior part travels in front of the coccyx, where it converges with the other trunk at a structure known as the ganglion impar.

Along the length of the sympathetic trunk are ganglia known as paravertebral ganglia.

Function[edit]

The sympathetic trunk is a fundamental part of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. It allows nerve fibres to travel to spinal nerves that are superior and inferior to the one in which they originated. Also, a number of nerves, such as most of the splanchnic nerves, arise directly from the trunks.

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.