- In anatomy, a collateral is a subordinate or accessory part. A collateral is also a side branch, as of a blood vessel or nerve. After a coronary artery occlusion, collaterals (that is, collateral vessels) often develop to shunt blood around the blockage. The word "collateral" comes from the Latin "col-", with + "latus", side = with the side, situated at the side. (The prefix "col-" is a variant form of "com-" meaning "with" that is used before an "l".) Hence, collateral means accessory, subordinate, secondary, serving to support or reinforce. In the sense of being on the side and in the sense of serving to support or reinforce, there are collateral ligaments outside of the knee joint. The collateral ligaments help provide stability and strength to the knee joint
* * *1. Indirect, subsidiary, or accessory to the main thing; side by side. 2. A side branch of a nerve axon or blood vessel.
* * *col·lat·er·al kə-'lat-ə-rəl, -'la-trəl adj1) relating to or being branches of a bodily part <\collateral sprouting of nerves>2) relating to or being part of the collateral circulation <\collateral circulatory vessels> <\collateral blood flow>collateral n1) a branch esp. of a blood vessel, nerve, or the axon of a nerve cell <excitation of axon \collaterals>2) a bodily part (as a ligament) that is lateral in position
* * *1. adj. accessory or secondary.2. n. a branch (e.g. of a nerve fibre) that is at right angles to the main part.
* * *col·lat·er·al (ko-latґər-əl) [co- + lateral] 1. secondary or accessory; not direct or immediate. 2. a small side branch, as of a blood vessel or nerve.
Medical dictionary. 2011.