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Celiac Plexus
Nervous System

Celiac Plexus

Plexus coeliacus

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Quick Facts

Sympathetic Contribution: Greater and lesser thoracic splanchnic nerves (T5-T10).

Parasympathetic Contribution: Posterior vagal trunk.

Course: Follow the arteries out to the components of the abdominal foregut

Sympathetic Supply: Foregut.

Parasympathetic Supply: To intramural parasympathetic ganglia located in the wall of organs and glands of foregut.

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Contributing Nerves

Preganglionic sympathetic nerve cell bodies arise from fifth to ninth thoracic nerves (T5-T10), and their axons form the greater and lesser thoracic splanchnic nerves. These terminate in the celiac ganglion, and postganglionic nerves travel in the celiac and associated secondary plexuses. Parasympathetic nerves peel off the vagal trunks and pass into the celiac trunk or its proximal branches. Some may pass through the celiac ganglion, but they do not synapse here.


The celiac plexus surrounds the celiac trunk and its branches. This allows nerves to follow the arteries to their target organs in the foregut.


The superior mesenteric plexus follows branches of the superior mesenteric artery and forms a number of secondary plexuses, including the inferior pancreaticoduodenal, intestinal, ileocolic, and right and middle colic plexuses.

As the celiac trunk branches, secondary plexuses, named according to the artery the axons follow, subdivide and follow the arteries out to the components of the abdominal foregut.

Supplied Structures

The superior mesenteric plexus contributes autonomic innervation to the vascular territory of the celiac trunk, i.e., the foregut. These include the stomach, proximal part of the duodenum, liver, gallbladder, spleen, a portion of the pancreas, and suprarenal gland (sympathetic only). Visceral sensory fibers carrying afferents from the aforementioned organs pass through the celiac plexus.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Superior mesenteric artery syndrome

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Celiac Plexus

ScienceDirect image

The celiac plexus is comprised of a diffuse network of nerve fibers and individual ganglia that lie over the anterolateral surface of the aorta primarily at the T12/L1 vertebral level.

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