The inferior vagal ganglion on each side is found along the path of the vagus nerve just inferior to the skull base. It lies inferior to the smaller superior vagal ganglion. Distally is the continuation of the vagus nerve through the neck within the carotid sheath.
The inferior ganglion contains the cell bodies of all the sensory nerve fibres within the vagus apart from those of the auricular and meningeal branches which are in the superior ganglion.
The inferior ganglion is the origin of a few afferent fibres from the carotid body and sinus which ascend from the carotid plexuses; the carotid nerve branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve is a far more substantial and important source of fibres from the carotid plexuses, but both groups of fibres eventually converge on the central nucleus of tractus solitarius.
In terms of motor efferents, the inferior ganglion gives off the following branches within the neck:
Also, the inferior ganglion is the site at which fibres join the vagus nerve from the cranial part of the accessory nerve. These fibres pass to widely-distributed skeletal muscle.
Last reviewed 01/2018