TOC Dissector Quiz Index Help Thorax Previous Page Next Page Overview
Laboratory 21. Mediastinum
Step 11. The Esophageal Plexus

Previous Image Next Image

Click for Full Screen
Click image to view full screen

Orientation Icon

Identify the distal course of the right vagus nerve [two probes] [cross-section] and left vagus nerve [two probes] [cross-section ] in the thorax as they pass posterior to the roots of the lungs to reach the esophagus.

As the right and left vagus nerves reach the esophagus, they branch to form the esophageal plexus (Figure 21.4). Branches of the right vagus nerve pass primarily to the posterior surface of the esophagus; those of the left vagus nerve pass to the anterior surface of the esophagus.

Immediately superior to the diaphragm, the fibers of the esophageal plexus reunite to form the left and right vagal trunks. The left vagal trunk lies on the anterior surface of the esophagus, and the right vagal trunk lies on the posterior surface of the esophagus. These structural relationships are related to the rotation of the gut during fetal development. See an embryology text for further details.

Links and References:
Netter: 220, 228
Rohen/Yokochi: 256, 261