paravertebral ganglia (anatomy)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The paravertebral ganglia, also termed the sympathetic chain or trunk, are a series of ganglia which lie in a line lateral and parallel to the vertebral bodies of the spinal column. The ganglia are interconnected to each other and extend from the base of the skull to the sacrum. They make contact with:

  • ganglia which lie superiorly or inferiorly within the chain
  • the spinal cord and associated spinal nerve via grey and white rami communicantes
  • prevertebral ganglia

The passage of efferent and afferent pre- and postganglionic fibres through the ganglia is considered in the submenu.

There are regional specialisations of the ganglia:

  • cervical sympathetic ganglia
  • thoracic sympathetic ganglia
  • lumbosacral sympathetic ganglia