Gray Matter. The butterfly shape of the gray matter consists of the dorsal (posterior) and ventral (anterior) horns. The left and right sides are attached by a gray commissure, which has the central canal in the middle. The posterior root has sensory nerve fibers entering the posterior horn. The anterior root contain somatic motor neurons exiting the anterior horn. The lateral horn holds neurons of the sympathetic NS that exit through the anterior root
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Each spinal nerve (except C1) receives sensory input from a specific area of skin called a dermatome. This dermatome map shows the cutaneous regions innervated by each spinal nerve. Yet, this map is oversimplified because there is a 50% overlap at the edges of the dermatomes. This is why it is necessary to anesthetize three successive spinal nerves to produce a total loss of sensation from only one dermatome.