In order to know the meaning of the term ganglia, we are going to proceed to discover, first, its etymological origin. In this case, we can underline that it is a word that derives from Latin, specifically from “ganglion” or “ganglium”. This, in turn, emanates from the Greek “ganglion”, which can be translated as “bulge” or “ganglion”.
This is the name given to the organs found in the lymphatic vessels, whose function is to filter the lymph and promote the maturation process of lymphocytes. In this case, we speak of lymph nodes. The nodes can also be clusters of neurons found in nerves: These structures are called nerve ganglia.
At a general level, therefore, it can be said that the ganglia are cell formations that function as organs small in size.
The lymph nodes, oval in shape, gather as clusters or chains in the lymphatic vessels. They are located in different parts of the Body, especially in the neck, groin, armpits and abdomen. They can measure from a few millimeters to several centimeters.
The nerve ganglia, for their part, are groupings of neurons that are located outside the Central Nervous System. These ganglia act as a link between different neurological structures. According to their characteristics, the nerve ganglia are divided into sensory or spinal nodes Y vegetative ganglia.
In the field of medicine, the concept of ganglion is used to refer to a cyst small in size that can appear in the aponeurosis (the membrane that surrounds the muscles) or in the tendons.
These ganglia have a substance similar to synovial fluid (the fluid of the joints), which is why they are also known as synovial cysts. These are benign tumors that are generated by an unknown cause.
In the same way, we cannot ignore the existence in medicine of what is known as the sentinel node. This should be noted that it is the first lymphatic type that tumor cells meet when they try to spread.
Hence, when it is suspected that the tumor may have spread to the lymphatic system, a biopsy of the aforementioned sentinel node is performed. Specifically, this process is often used in cases of melanomas and breast cancer.
Likewise, we must not forget the existence of the so-called stellate ganglion. This, which also responds to the name of the cervicothoracic ganglion, is the result of the fusion between the first thoracic sympathetic ganglion and the lower cervical ganglion. It is established that around 80% of the world’s population has it.
There is also the Gasser ganglion that is found in the area of the temporal bone, specifically, in the so-called Gasser fossa. Three branches of the so-called trigeminal nerve emanate from it, which is a temporal nerve of a mixed type.