Cervical Plexus Definition
The cervical plexus refers a network comprising of nerve fibers that provides specific structures in the trunk and neck with innervations.
Cervical Plexus Anatomy
The cervical plexus is situated in the neck, in the posterior triangle, and goes half the distance to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. It can be found in the cervical fascia, in the prevertebral layer. The anterior divisions (rami) of cervical spinal nerves, or C1, C2, C3 and C4, form the plexus.
It is located in a posterior position to the sternocleidomastoid muscle and in an anterior position to the cervical vertebrae.
Cervical Nerve Function
The cervical plexus has 5 primary components, and each of these has a specific function:
The cervical spinal nerves function is important. These cervical plexus nerves innervate the muscles and provide the diaphragm, neck, head, back and upper limbs with sensation as well.
Cervical Plexus Nerves
The back area of the head and a few neck muscles are innervated by the nerves developed from the cervical plexus. The cervical plexus branches arise from the posterior triangle at the point of the nerve, a point that lies midway on the sternocleidomastoid, on its posterior border.
Many branches from the cervical plexus supply to neck and head structures. These can be divided broadly into two branches –
Cervical Plexus Block
A cervical plexus block is utilized to offer local anesthesia, generally for a neck surgery, such as:
In this method, a needle containing the local anesthetic is inserted by the anesthetist up and midway to the sternocleidomastoid posterior border. Then, anesthetists inject the anesthetic thrice in a fan-like movement. The needle is pointed cranially, then caudally and finally in an anterior manner.
The cervical plexus block provides the neck and head area with analgesia and anesthesia. Based on the surgery type, there can be a cervical plexus deep level block or a cervical plexus superficial level block. The cervical plexus superficial level block innervates the superficial structures and skin of the shoulder, head and neck. The deep branches, on the other hand, innervate the diaphragm and the deep anterior neck muscles. The deep cervical plexus block is utilized for the thyroid or carotid artery surgery, or other deeper neck surgeries. On the other hand, the superficial cervical plexus block has usage in the superficial cutaneous neck and head surgeries.
The cervical plexus block is used also as a supplement to other local processes involving the upper torso.
Cervical Nerve Block Complications
The complications arising from deep cervical plexus block consist of problems like:
This process also has an impact on the phrenic nerve. Naturally, it is not conducted on people with co-occurring respiratory or cardiac disease.
Cervical Plexus Injury
The spinal cord comprises of a cluster of nerves that transmit signals from the brain to the other areas of the body. In case a trauma fractures a cervical vertebra, such as during a diving accident jarring the head, a fall, a car accident or any other major cervical injury, damage to the spinal cord may occur.
Such injuries can impair functioning, depending on the type of cervical vertebra that suffers an injury. Typically, injuries of the spinal cord are categorized by the spinal nerve root level where there is impairment or loss of function.
For instance, an injury to the C6 spinal cord can make one lose the function of the C6 nerve root as well as the nerve roots located under it. People with this type of trauma can move the shoulders and head but struggle with arm movement and not have the capacity to move the legs or trunk. The sensations under the shoulders would be lost or affected.
Generally, a trauma in the spinal cord in C1, C2 or C3 level is fatal, unless an emergency medical responder restores breathing quickly.
Cervical Plexus Diagrams
The following cervical plexus pictures and images show the cervical plexus mnemonic.
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