ganglion

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Ganglion

 

Definition

A ganglion is a small, usually hard bump above a tendon or in the capsule that encloses a joint. A ganglion is also called a synovial hernia or synovial cyst.

Description

A ganglion is a non-cancerous cyst filled with a thick, jelly-like fluid. Ganglions can develop on or beneath the surface of the skin and usually occur between the ages of 20 and 40.
Most ganglions develop on the hand or wrist. This condition is common in people who bowl or who play handball, raquetball, squash, or tennis. Runners and athletes who jump, ski, or play contact sports often develop foot ganglions.

Causes and symptoms

Mild sprains or other repeated injuries can irritate and tear the thin membrane covering a tendon, causing fluid to leak into a sac that swells and forms a ganglion.
Ganglions are usually painless, but range of motion may be impaired. Flexing or bending the affected area can cause discomfort, as can continuing to perform the activity that caused the condition.
Cysts on the surface of the skin usually develop slowly but may result from injury or severe strain. An internal ganglion can cause soreness or a dull, aching sensation, but the mass cannot always be felt. Symptoms sometimes become evident only when the cyst causes pressure on a nerve or outgrows the membrane surrounding it.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually made through physical examination as well as such imaging studies as x ray, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Fluid may be withdrawn from the cyst and evaluated.

Treatment

Some ganglions disappear without treatment, and some reappear despite treatment.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other over-the-counter analgesics can be used to control mild pain. Steroids or local anesthetics may be injected into cysts that cause severe pain or other troublesome
A ganglion is a non-cancerous cyst filled with a thick, jelly-like fluid. Ganglions can develop on or beneath the surface of the skin, most likely on the hand or wrist, although runners and skiers often develop them on the foot.
A ganglion is a non-cancerous cyst filled with a thick, jelly-like fluid. Ganglions can develop on or beneath the surface of the skin, most likely on the hand or wrist, although runners and skiers often develop them on the foot.
(Illustration by Electronic Illustrators Group.)
symptoms. Surgery performed in a hospital operating room or an outpatient facility, is the only treatment guaranteed to remove a ganglion. The condition can recur if the entire cyst is not removed.
A doctor should be notified if the surgical site drains, bleeds, or becomes
  • inflamed
  • painful
  • swollen or if the patient feels ill or develops:
  • head or muscle aches
  • dizziness
  • fever following surgery
The patient may bathe or shower as usual, but should keep the surgical site dry and covered with a bandage for two or three days after the operation. Patients may resume normal activities as soon as they feel comfortable doing so.

Prognosis

Possible complications include excessive post-operative bleeding and infection of the surgical site. Calcification, or hardening, of the ganglion is rare.

Prevention

Exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility can prevent ganglions. Warming and cooling down before and after workouts may also decrease the rate of developing ganglions.

Resources

Other

"Foot Ganglion." ThriveOnline. May 25, 1998. http://thriveonline.oxygen.com.
"Hand or Wrist Ganglion." ThriveOnline. May 25, 1998. http://thriveonline.oxygen.com.

ganglion

 [gang´gle-on] (pl. gan´glia, ganglions) (Gr.)
1. a knot or knotlike mass; in anatomic nomenclature, a group of nerve cell bodies located outside the central nervous system. The term is occasionally applied to certain nuclear groups within the brain or spinal cord, such as the basal ganglia.
2. a form of cystic tumor occurring on an aponeurosis or tendon, as in the wrist. adj., adj gan´glial, ganglion´ic.
Ganglion. From Frazier et al., 2000.
autonomic ganglia aggregations of cell bodies of neurons of the autonomic nervous system; the parasympathetic and the sympathetic ganglia combined.
basal ganglia basal nuclei.
cardiac ganglia ganglia of the superficial cardiac plexus under the arch of the aorta.
carotid ganglion an occasional small enlargement in the internal carotid plexus.
celiac ganglia two irregularly shaped ganglia, one on each crus of the diaphragm within the celiac plexus.
cerebrospinal ganglia those associated with the cranial and spinal nerves.
cervical ganglion
1. any of the three ganglia (inferior, middle, and superior) of the sympathetic trunk in the neck region.
2. one near the cervix uteri.
cervicothoracic ganglion a ganglion on the sympathetic trunk anterior to the lowest cervical or first thoracic vertebra. It is formed by a union of the seventh and eighth cervical and first thoracic ganglia. Called also stellate ganglion.
cervicouterine ganglion one near the cervix uteri.
ciliary ganglion a parasympathetic ganglion in the posterior part of the orbit.
cochlear ganglion the sensory ganglion located within the spiral canal of the modiolus. It consists of bipolar cells that send fibers peripherally to the organ of Corti and centrally to the cochlear nuclei of the brainstem. Called also spiral ganglion and Corti's ganglion.
Corti's ganglion cochlear ganglion.
craniospinal ganglia collections of sensory neurons that form nodular enlargements on the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves and on the sensory roots of cranial nerves.
dorsal root ganglion spinal ganglion.
false ganglion an enlargement of a nerve that does not have a true ganglionic structure.
Frankenhäuser's ganglion cervical ganglion (def. 2).
gasserian ganglion trigeminal ganglion.
geniculate ganglion the sensory ganglion of the facial nerve, on the geniculum of the facial nerve.
ganglion im´par a ganglion commonly found on the front of the coccyx, where the sympathetic trunks of the two sides unite.
inferior ganglion
1. the lower of two ganglia of the glossopharyngeal nerve as it passes through the jugular foramen.
2. the lower of two ganglia of the vagus nerve as it passes through the jugular foramen.
jugular ganglion superior ganglion (defs. 1 and 2).
Ludwig's ganglion a ganglion near the right atrium of the heart, connected with the cardiac plexus.
lumbar ganglia the ganglia on the sympathetic trunk, usually four or five on either side.
lymphatic ganglion lymph node.
otic ganglion a parasympathetic ganglion next to the medial surface of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, just inferior to the foramen ovale. Its postganglionic fibers supply the parotid gland.
parasympathetic ganglia aggregations of cell bodies of cholinergic neurons of the parasympathetic nervous system; these ganglia are located near to or within the wall of the organs being innervated. See also Plates.
petrous ganglion inferior ganglion (def. 1).
pterygopalatine ganglion a parasympathetic ganglion in a fossa in the sphenoid bone, formed by postganglionic cell bodies that synapse with preganglionic fibers from the fascial nerve via the nerve of the pterygopalatine canal. Called also sphenopalatine ganglion.
sacral ganglia those of the sacral part of the sympathetic trunk, usually three or four on either side.
Scarpa's ganglion vestibular ganglion.
semilunar ganglion
2. [pl.] celiac ganglia.
sensory ganglion any of the ganglia of the peripheral nervous system that transmit sensory impulses; also, the collective masses of nerve cell bodies in the brain subserving sensory functions.
simple ganglion a cystic tumor in a tendon sheath.
sphenopalatine ganglion pterygopalatine ganglion.
spinal ganglion the cerebrospinal ganglion on the dorsal root of each spinal nerve; called also dorsal root ganglion.
spiral ganglion cochlear ganglion.
stellate ganglion cervicothoracic ganglion.
submandibular ganglion a parasympathetic ganglion located superior to the deep part of the submandibular gland, on the lateral surface of the hyoglossal muscle; its postganglionic fibers supply the sublingual and submandibular glands.
superior ganglion
1. the upper of two ganglia on the glossopharyngeal nerve as it passes through the jugular foramen.
2. the upper of two ganglia of the vagus nerve just as it passes through the jugular foramen. Called also jugular ganglion.
sympathetic ganglia aggregations of cell bodies of adrenergic neurons of the sympathetic nervous system; these ganglia are arranged in chainlike fashion on either side of the spinal cord. See also Plates.
thoracic ganglia the ganglia on the thoracic portion of the sympathetic trunk, 11 or 12 on either side.
trigeminal ganglion a ganglion on the sensory root of the fifth cranial nerve, situated in a cleft within the dura mater on the anterior surface of the pars petrosa of the temporal bone, and giving off the ophthalmic and maxillary and part of the mandibular nerve. Called also gasserian or semilunar ganglion.
tympanic ganglion an enlargement on the tympanic branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve.
vestibular ganglion the sensory ganglion of the vestibular part of the eighth cranial nerve, located in the upper part of the lateral end of the internal acoustic meatus. Called also Scarpa's ganglion.
Walther's ganglion glomus coccygeum.
Wrisberg's ganglia cardiac ganglia.
wrist ganglion cystic enlargement of a tendon sheath on the back of the wrist.

gan·gli·on

, pl.

gan·gli·a

,

gan·gli·ons

(gang'glē-on, -glē-ă, -glē-onz),
1. Originally, any group of nerve cell bodies in the central or peripheral nervous system; currently, an aggregation of nerve cell bodies located in the peripheral nervous system. Synonym(s): nerve ganglion, neural ganglion, neuroganglion
2. A cyst containing mucopolysaccharide-rich fluid within fibrous tissue or, occasionally, muscle bone or a semilunar cartilage; usually attached to a tendon sheath in the hand, wrist, or foot, or connected with the underlying joint. Synonym(s): myxoid cyst, peritendinitis serosa, synovial cyst
[G. a swelling or knot]

ganglion

(găng′glē-ən)
n. pl. gan·glia (-glē-ə) or gan·glions
1. A group of nerve cells forming a nerve center, especially one located outside the brain or spinal cord.
2. Medicine A benign cystic lesion resembling a tumor, occurring in a tendon sheath or joint capsule.
3. A center of power, activity, or energy.

gan′gli·on′ic (-ŏn′ĭk) adj.

gan·gli·on

, pl. ganglia, pl. ganglions (gang'glē-ŏn, -ă, -ŏnz)
1. [TA] An aggregation of nerve cell bodies located in the peripheral nervous system.
Synonym(s): neuroganglion.
2. A cyst containing mucopolysaccharide-rich fluid within a fibrous capsule; usually attached to a tendon sheath in the hand, wrist, or foot, or connected with the underlying joint.
Synonym(s): myxoid cyst, synovial cyst.
[G. a swelling or knot]

ganglion

(gang'gle-on) (gang'gle-a) plural.ganglia, ganglions [Gr ganglion, tumor, cystic tumor.]
1. An autonomic ganglion.
2. A dorsal root ganglion or spinal ganglion.
Enlarge picture
GANGLION CYST: Proximal to the radial surface of the wrist
3.. A cystic tumor developing on a tendon or aponeurosis. It sometimes occurs on the back of the wrist. See: illustration

abdominal ganglion

Any autonomic ganglion located in the abdomen.

acoustic ganglion

Spiral ganglion.

aorticorenal ganglion

Either of the paired prevertebral autonomic ganglia in the nerve plexus that surrounds the aortic roots of the renal arteries. It receives preganglionic sympathetic axons via the major splanchnic nerves.

auditory ganglion

Spiral ganglion.

auricular ganglion

Otic ganglion.

autonomic ganglion

A collection of postganglionic autonomic neurons in the peripheral nervous system that are surrounded by a loose connective tissue capsule. Dendrites of the neurons can be limited to the neuropil inside the ganglion, or they can pierce the capsule and extend into the surrounding regions. Each preganglionic autonomic axon usually synapses on the dendrites of many ganglionic neurons. During development, the autonomic ganglia are derived from the neural crest.

basal ganglia

Large central nervous system nuclei lying deep in the cerebral hemispheres below the cortex. The core nuclei that compose the basal ganglia include the caudate nucleus and putamen (together, called the striatum), the globus pallidus (the pallidum), and the amygdaloid complex. The putamen and globus pallidus are adjacent and are sometimes grouped together as the lentiform nucleus. Other nearby nuclei are key controllers and modulators of the basal ganglia; these include the substantia nigra, the ventral tegmental area, and the subthalamic nucleus. The basal ganglia, which are central players in the extrapyramidal motor system, are involved in initiating motor programs, and diseases of the basal ganglia, eg, tremor, athetosis, hemiballismus, chorea, and Parkinsonism, are associated with movement problems.

Bochdalek's ganglion

See: Bochdalek, Vincent

cardiac ganglia

Collections of autonomic (mainly postganglionic parasympathetic) neurons clumped in the superficial and deep cardiac plexuses. These plexuses are a meshwork of visceral afferent, sympathetic, and parasympathetic axons that coat the lower part of the trachea, its bifurcation, the aorta, the pulmonary trunk, and the coronary arteries.

carotid ganglion

A ganglion formed by filamentous threads from the carotid plexus beneath the carotid artery.

celiac ganglion

Either of a pair of interconnected prevertebral autonomic ganglia in the celiac plexus, a meshwork of autonomic axons that wrap around the celiac trunk and the root of the superior mesenteric artery. The celiac ganglia are the largest of the prevertebral ganglia and receive preganglionic sympathetic axons via the major splanchnic nerves.

cephalic ganglion

Any of the parasympathetic ganglia (otic, pterygopalatine, and submandibular) in the head.

cervical ganglion

Any of the three pairs of ganglia (superior, middle, inferior) in the cervical portion of the sympathetic trunk.

cervicothoracic ganglion

Stellate ganglion.

ciliary ganglion

A small autonomic ganglion lying on the outside of the optic nerve in the rear portion of the orbit. This ganglion receives preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the midbrain via the oculomotor nerve (CN III). It sends postganglionic parasympathetic axons into the eye, via the short ciliary axons, to innervate the ciliary muscle, the sphincter of the iris, the smooth muscles of local blood vessels, and the cornea.

cochlear ganglion

Spiral ganglion.

coccygeal ganglion

A ganglion located in the coccygeal plexus and forming the lower termination of the two sympathetic trunks; sometimes absent.

collateral ganglion

Any of several ganglia of the sympathetic nervous system. They are in the mesenteric nervous plexuses near the abdominal aorta and include the celiac and mesenteric ganglia.

Corti's ganglion

See: Corti, Alfonso Giacomo Gaspare

dorsal root ganglion

A roughly spherical collection of unipolar neuronal cell bodies in the dorsal roots of each spinal nerve near the intervertebral foramina. Dorsal root ganglia are enclosed in a capsule that is a continuation of the epineurium of the spinal nerve. Besides neuronal cell bodies, these ganglia contain satellite cells, Schwann cells, axonal processes, and blood vessels. The ganglion's neurons are part of the primary visceral or somatic sensory pathways; their peripheral processes extend into the peripheral nerve and terminate in sensory endings, and their central processes follow the dorsal roots into the central nervous system and synapse in sensory areas. Microscopically, the peripheral processes of dorsal root ganglion neurons look identical to axons. During development, dorsal root ganglia develop from neural crest cells. Synonym: intervertebral ganglion; spinal ganglion

Ehrenritter's ganglion

See: Ehrenritter's ganglion

false ganglion

An enlargement on a nerve that does not contain a ganglion.

Frankenhäuser's ganglion

See: Frankenhäuser's ganglion

ganglion of the facial nerve

Geniculate ganglion.

gasserian ganglion

Trigeminal ganglion.

geniculate ganglion

The sensory ganglion of the facial nerve (CN VII). The ganglion lies inside a bend in the facial canal (at the geniculum of the facial nerve) where the preganglionic parasympathetic axons leave the facial nerve and form the greater petrosal nerve. The geniculate ganglion contains the cell bodies of the bipolar neurons that receive taste information from the palate and the anterior two-thirds of the tongue via the chorda tympani. The axons of the neurons of the ganglion run in the nervus intermedius component of the facial nerve and synapse in the nucleus of the fasciculus solitarius.
Synonym: ganglion of the facial nerve

inferior cervical ganglion

The lowest (most caudal) of the cervical ganglia. It is adjacent to vertebra C7 or T1. Postganglionic sympathetic axons from the inferior cervical ganglion join spinal nerves C7–T1 and the pulmonary nerves.
See: stellate ganglion

inferior ganglion of the glossopharyngeal nerve

Petrosal ganglion.

inferior ganglion of the vagus nerve

Nodose ganglion.

inferior mesenteric ganglion

A prevertebral sympathetic ganglion located in the inferior mesenteric plexus, a meshwork of autonomic axons on and near the origin of the inferior mesenteric artery.

intervertebral ganglion

Dorsal root ganglion.

jugular ganglion

The smaller of the two sensory ganglia of the vagus nerve (CN X). The jugular ganglion lies in the jugular foramen of the skull. Neurons in the ganglion send somatic sensory fibers to the dura of the posterior cranial fossa, the skin behind the ear, and the skin along the inferior portion of the tympanic membrane and the adjacent floor of the external auditory canal; the axons of these neurons follow the vagus nerve into the brainstem where they join the spinal trigeminal tract.
Synonym: superior ganglion of the vagus nerve

lateral ganglion

Any of a chain of ganglia forming the main sympathetic trunk.

Lee's ganglion

See: Lee's ganglion

lumbar ganglion

Any of the three or four pairs of paravertebral ganglia in the lumbar section of the sympathetic trunk. The lumbar ganglia send postganglionic sympathetic axons, via lumbar splanchnic nerves, to the superior hypogastric plexus; from there the axons are distributed to the pelvic viscera.

Meckel's ganglion

See: Meckel, Johann Friedrich (the elder)

middle cervical ganglion

The central and smallest of the cervical ganglia. It is adjacent to vertebra C6. Approximately 40% of people lack this ganglion. In some people, it merges with the superior cervical ganglion, forming one elongated ganglion. Postganglionic sympathetic axons from the middle cervical ganglion join cervical nerves C5–C6.

nodose ganglion

The larger of the two sensory ganglia of the vagus nerve; it is located in the nerve below the jugular foramen. The ganglion contains a mix of somatic and visceral sensory neurons; somatic neurons send their axons into the spinal trigeminal tract in the brainstem; visceral neurons send their axons into the fasciculus solitarius.
Synonym: inferior ganglion of the vagus nerve

otic ganglion

A small autonomic ganglion located deep in the zygomatic fossa immediately below the foramen ovale. It receives preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the inferior salivatory nucleus via the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX); it sends postganglionic parasympathetic axons to innervate the parotid gland.
Synonym: auricular ganglion

parasympathetic ganglion

An autonomic ganglion containing postganglionic parasympathetic neurons.

paravertebral ganglion

Any of the pairs of sympathetic ganglia lying on either side of the vertebral column and forming the thickened nodes of the sympathetic trunk. The usual complement of paravertebral ganglia includes 2-3 cervical, 11-12 thoracic, 3-4 lumbar, and 4-5 sacral ganglia.

peripheral ganglion

A ganglion in the peripheral nervous system.

petrosal ganglion

The larger of the two sensory ganglia in the glossopharyngeal nerve (IX). The ganglion lies on the outer surface of the base of the skull in a groove in the petrous portion of the temporal bone just outside the jugular foramen. The petrosal ganglion contains cell bodies of unipolar neurons that receive taste and tactile sensation from the posterior third of the tongue and the oropharynx. Axons of these neurons follow the glossopharyngeal nerve into the hindbrain.
Synonym: inferior ganglion of the glossopharyngeal nerve

pharyngeal ganglion

A ganglion in contact with the glossopharyngeal nerve.

phrenic ganglion

Any of a group of ganglia joining the phrenic plexus.

prevertebral ganglion

An irregular and sometimes fragmented sympathetic ganglia in one of the nerve plexuses along the abdominal aorta or its major branches. The major prevertebral ganglia (the celiac, aorticorenal, phrenic, and superior and inferior mesenteric ganglia) are interconnected by autonomic nerves.

pterygopalatine ganglion

Sphenopalatine ganglion.

Remak's ganglion

See: Remak, Robert

renal ganglion

Any of a group of ganglia joining the renal plexus.

sacral ganglion

Any of the four small ganglia located in the sacral portion of the sympathetic trunk that lie on the anterior surface of the sacrum and are connected to the spinal nerves by gray rami.

semilunar ganglion

Trigeminal ganglion.

sensory ganglion

Any ganglion (e.g., trigeminal ganglion or dorsal root ganglion) containing neurons that receive afferent (sensory) signals.

simple ganglion

A cystic tumor in a tendon sheath. Synonym: wrist ganglion

sphenopalatine ganglion

An autonomic ganglion found in the pterygopalatine fossa. It receives preganglionic axons from the superior salivatory nucleus via the facial nerve (CN VII). It sends postganglionic parasympathetic axons to innervate the lacrimal glands and the blood vessels and glands of the mucosa of the nose and palate.
Synonym: pterygopalatine ganglion

spinal ganglion

Dorsal root ganglion.

spiral ganglion

A chain of tiny sensory ganglia that winds through the cochlea of the inner ear. These ganglia contain the cell bodies of the neurons that receive auditory signals from the organ of Corti. The axons of these neurons form the cochlear component of the vestibulocochlear nerve and synapse in the cochlear nuclei in the brainstem.
Synonym: acoustic ganglion; auditory ganglion; cochlear ganglion

stellate ganglion

The merger of the inferior cervical ganglion and the first thoracic ganglion, which occurs in many people. Synonym: cervicothoracic ganglion

submandibular ganglion

An autonomic ganglion suspended from the lingual nerve between the mylohyoid and hyoglossus muscles. It receives preganglionic parasympathetic axons from the superior salivatory nucleus via the facial nerve (CN VII). It sends postganglionic parasympathetic axons to innervate the submandibular and sublingual salivary glands and the mucosa of the floor of the mouth.

superior cervical ganglion

The uppermost cervical ganglion and the largest paravertebral autonomic ganglion. It is adjacent to vertebra C2 or C3. It sends postganglionic sympathetic axons into cranial nerves CN VIII–XII, cervical nerves C1–C4, and the pharyngeal, carotid, and cardiac nerves.

superior ganglion of the vagus nerve

Jugular ganglion.

superior mesenteric ganglion

Either of the paired prevertebral autonomic sympathetic ganglia in the lower celiac plexus and adjacent to the superior mesenteric artery. It receives preganglionic sympathetic axons via the major splanchnic nerves.

suprarenal ganglion

A ganglion situated in the suprarenal plexus.

sympathetic ganglion

Any of the paravertebral or prevertebral autonomic ganglia that are innervated by preganglionic axons from the intermediolateral column of neurons in spinal cord segments T1–L2.

temporal ganglion

A tiny ganglion joining the anterior branches of the superior cervical ganglion.

terminal ganglion

A ganglion of the autonomic division of the nervous system that lies close to or within the organ innervated.

thoracic ganglion

Any of 11 or 12 pairs of paravertebral ganglia in the thoracic section the sympathetic trunk. The first four or five thoracic ganglia send postganglionic sympathetic axons to the cardiac nerves. Three major splanchnic nerves (the greater, lesser, and least splanchnic nerves) appear to emerge from the thoracic ganglia. They then run through the diaphragm and end in the celiac, mesenteric, and aorticorenal prevertebral ganglia. These nerves are actually bundles of preganglionic sympathetic axons that originate in the spinal cord and pass through the thoracic paravertebral ganglia without synapsing on their way to synapse in the abdominal prevertebral ganglia.

trigeminal ganglion

The somatic sensory ganglion of the trigeminal nerve (CN V). It is semilunar in shape and flattened along the front and medial surfaces of the floor of the middle cranial fossa. The ophthalmic, the maxillary, and the sensory portion of the mandibular nerves emerge from the front of the ganglion, while the motor portion of the mandibular nerve runs under the ganglion. Synonym: gasserian ganglion; semilunar ganglion

tympanic ganglion

An enlargement on the tympanic portion of the glossopharyngeal nerve.

Valentin ganglion

See: Valentin ganglion

vestibular ganglion

A two-part ganglion in the vestibular branches of the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII) inside the internal auditory meatus. The ganglion contains the cell bodies of bipolar neurons that receive equillibrium information from the membranous labyrinth of the semicircular canals in the inner ear. The axons of these neurons form the vestibular component of the vestibulocochlear nerve and synapse in the vestibular nuclei in the brainstem.
Synonym: Scarpa ganglion

wrist ganglion

Simple ganglion.

ganglion

1. Any large, discrete collection of nerve cell bodies, from which bundles of nerve fibres emerge.
2. A rubbery, compressible, cystic swelling arising from the fibrous sheath of a tendon or the capsule of a joint, commonly on or around the wrist.

ganglion

(pl. ganglia) a structure composed of the CELL BODIES of neurones that in vertebrates is usually found outside the central nervous system (CNS), but which may form part of the CNS in invertebrates where such structures are usually well-developed in the head region. In vertebrates, ganglia are found in the PERIPHERAL nervous system and the AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM.

ganglion

An aggregation of nerve cell bodies found in numerous locations in the peripheral nervous system. Plural: ganglia.
ganglion cell See ganglion cell.
ciliary ganglion A small reddish-grey body about the size of a pinhead situated at the posterior part of the orbit about 1 cm from the optic foramen between the optic nerve and the lateral rectus muscle. It receives posteriorly three roots: (1) the long, nasociliary or sensory root (or ramus communicans), which contains sensory fibres from the cornea, iris and ciliary body and some sympathetic postganglionic axons going to the dilator muscle; (2) the short (or motor root or oculomotor root) which comes from the Edinger-Westphal nucleus through the third nerve (oculomotor). It carries fibres supplying the sphincter pupillae and ciliary muscles; (3) the sympathetic root, which comes from the cavernous and the internal carotid plexuses. It carries fibres mediating constriction of the blood vessels of the eye and possibly mediating dilatation of the pupil. The ciliary ganglion gives rise to 6-10 short ciliary nerves. Syn. lenticular ganglion; ophthalmic ganglion. See pupil light reflex.
gasserian ganglion Sensory ganglion of the fifth nerve located in a bony fossa on the front of the apex of the petrous temporal bone. It receives the sensory portion of the fifth nerve (trigeminal) in the posterior part of the ganglion. From its anterior part the three divisions of the fifth nerve are given off: the ophthalmic (which contains the sensory fibres from the cornea and the eye in general), the maxillary and the mandibular nerves. Syn. semilunar ganglion; trigeminal ganglion. See herpes zoster ophthalmicus.
lenticular ganglion; ophthalmic ganglion See ciliary ganglion.
semilunar g . See gasserian ganglion.
superior cervical ganglion One of the uppermost and largest ganglion in the two chains of sympathetic ganglia lying alongside the vertebral column. It is located just below the base of the skull between the internal carotid artery and the internal jugular vein. It gives rise to the internal carotid nerve, which forms the internal carotid plexus.
trigeminal ganglion See gasserian ganglion.

gan·gli·on

, pl. ganglia, pl. ganglions (gang'glē-ŏn, -ă, -ŏnz)
Originally, any group of nerve cell bodies in the central or peripheral nervous system; currently, an aggregation of nerve cell bodies located in the peripheral nervous system.
[G. a swelling or knot]
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