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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


PILLAY, P; PARTAB, P; LAZARUS, L  and  SATYAPAL, K. S. The Ansa Cervicalis in Fetuses. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.4, pp.1321-1326. ISSN 0717-9502.

The formation of ansa cervicalis (AC) is somewhat complex with both its course and location along the common carotid artery and internal jugular vein (IJV) varying. The aim of the study was to document the anatomy, formation and variations of AC. Forty fetuses (gestational age: 15 to 28 weeks) were obtained from the Department of Clinical Anatomy, Westville Campus, UKZN. A detailed micro-dissection of the posterior triangle of the neck and AC were completed using standard micro-dissecting instruments. Results of the formation of AC, its relationship to IJV and variations were recorded. The superior root was identified as a long willowy nerve that branched from the hypoglossal nerve, descended on the carotid sheath, anterior to the common carotid artery and IJV in 70 % and posterior to IJV in 30 % of the specimens. The inferior root of AC originated from the ventral rami of C2-C3 in 26%; ventral ramus of C3 in 58% and ventral ramus of C2 in 16%. Variations: a) Formation: (i) Dual formation of AC: The Hypoglossal nerve formed separate loops with the ventral rami of C2 and C3 (3%); (ii) "W" shaped appearance of AC above the superior belly of omohyoid (1%); (iii) A "vago-cervical complex" 3%; b) Origin and course: The superior root of AC received a contribution from the hypoglossal nerve, a short distance later it formed a loop around the IJV to ascend to the ventral ramus of C2 as the inferior root. The precise understanding of the anatomy of AC together with variations may assist anesthetists and surgeons to accurately identify the vascular and neural relations during surgical procedures.

Keywords : Ansa cervicalis; Superior root; Inferior root; Hypoglossal nerve; Internal jugular vein.

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