Ectopic sympathetic ganglia cells of the ventral root of the spinal cord: an anatomical study
The sympathetic trunk ganglia contain the cell bodies of neurons. However, some patients who undergo sympathectomy can develop compensatory hyperhidrosis. To evaluate for ectopic pathways, the present anatomical study was performed. Ten adult cadavers underwent dissection of the spinal canal and removal of randomly selected ventral roots, which were submitted for histological analysis. Random ventral root samples were taken from cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral regions in each specimen. Each histological section was then analyzed and the presence or absence of sympathetic cells documented for level and position within the ventral root. Of all samples, a sympathetic nerve cell was found in 80% of ventral roots. At least one sympathetic cell was found in these 80%. Most sympathetic cells were found in the proximal one-third of the ventral root. Such cells were found at all spinal levels and no specific level within a vertebral region was found to house a greater concentration of these cells. No statistical significance was found when comparing sides or sex. Our study confirmed that sympathetic cells exist in the majority of human ventral roots. Such data might better explain various clinical presentations and postoperative complications/findings.
Materials and Methods