This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Thoracic sympathetic ganglia (anatomy)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

On each side of the spinal column within the bounds of the posterior mediastinum, there are twelve sympathetic ganglia within the sympathetic trunk. The most superior ganglion within each chain - the first thoracic ganglion - is continuous with the inferior cervical ganglion that lies superiorly. The most inferior ganglion within each chain - the twelfth thoracic ganglion - is continuous with the lumbosacral ganglia inferiorly. The first and occasionally second thoracic ganglia may fuse with the inferior cervical ganglion on each side to form the stellate ganglion.

As it traverses the thorax, the ganglia of each sympathetic trunk are positioned anterolateral to the heads of the ribs. The trunk is posterior to the costal pleura overlying the posterolateral surfaces of the lung. It lies posterolateral to the vertebral bodies but anterior to the intercostal nerves and vessels.

Each thoracic ganglion has contact with:

  • the associated spinal nerve via grey and white rami communicantes
  • the superior and inferior ganglia via fibres within the trunk
  • thoracoabdominal tissues and organs via visceral branches

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.