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Celiac plexus

Celiac (solar) plexus

The celiac (solar) plexus is an autonomic nervous plexus consisting of interconnected paraaortic ganglia, located around the roots of the major abdominal aorta branches. 

The function of the celiac plexus is to receive both parasympathetic and sympathetic inputs from the vagus (CN X) and splanchnic nerves, and to convey their respective postsynaptic outputs to the abdominal viscera. This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the solar plexus.

Key facts
Definition Autonomic plexus consisting of paraaortic ganglia on the anterior surface of abdominal aorta
Location Around the roots of celiac trunk, superior mesenteric artery and renal artery
Function Sympathetic, parasympathetic and nociceptive innervation to the distal esophagus, stomach, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, liver and gallbladder via periarterial nervous plexuses
Clinical relations Celiac plexus block
  1. Anatomy
  2. Clinical relations
    1. Celiac plexus block
  3. Sources
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The celiac plexus consists of celiac, superior mesenteric, and renal ganglia found surrounding the roots of the celiac trunk, superior mesenteric, and renal arteries. For their paraaortic location, these ganglia are also called prevertebral (paraaortic) ganglia. Ganglia are interconnected into smaller celiac, superior mesenteric and renal plexuses, which together comprise one large celiac (solar) plexus

The celiac plexus outsources parasympathetic, sympathetic and nociceptive fibers. Parasympathetic input for the celiac plexus comes from the vagus nerve (CN X), while the sympathetic input is from the greater and lesser splanchnic nerves. Branches of the celiac plexus reach their target organs by forming periarterial plexuses surrounding the branches of the abdominal aorta. Thus, the celiac plexus supplies the inferior part of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and small intestine.

The function of the celiac plexus is to transmit visceral sensory impulses (like pain or reflexes) from the foregut and midgut. It increases gland secretion and promotes peristalsis and digestion with its parasympathetic division. The sympathetic division inhibits peristalsis, constricts blood vessels and redirects blood to skeletal muscles.

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