Nerve/Origin Route Branches

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Olfactory (I) (telencephalon)

Axons of bipolar neurons form olfactory nerves which go thru cribiform plate of ethmoid bone and end in the olfactory bulb


Optic (II) (diencephalon)

Through optic canal runs with ophthalmic artery


Oculomotor (III) (midbrain)

Through lateral wall of cavernous sinus enters orbit via superior orbital fissure

Superior Division

Levator Palpebrae Superioris and Superior Rectus

Inferior Division

Medial and Inferior Rectus, Inferior Oblique

Branch from inferior division via parasympathetic (motor) root of the ciliary ganglion enter ciliary galnglion  postganglionics to the ciliary muscle and spincter of pupil via short ciliary nerves

Trochlear (IV) (midbrain)

Through lateral wall of cavernous sinus and into orbit thru superior orbital fissure

Superior Oblique Muscle

Abducens (VI)


Through the cavernous sinus with internal carotid artery and enters orbit via superior orbital fissure

Lateral Rectus

Facial (VII)


Second Branchial Arch

Through internal acoustic meatus with vestibulocochlear nerve, into facial canal and goes laterally through petrous portion of temporal bone until middle ear (tympanic cavity). Then it turns backward “genuat location of geniculate ganglion (sensory cell bodies). When reaches posterior wall of middle ear, it turns downward and exits via stylomastiod foramen

Facial Proper:

Through facial canal, exits stylohyoid foramen and enters substance of parotid gland

Branch to stapedius in facial canal, after exits stylomastoid foramen branches to posterior auricular and post belly digastrics/stylohyoid, then in parotid gland gives off temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular, and cervical branches

Nervus Intermedius:

Greater petrosal nerve Exits at level of geniculate ganglion, hiatus of greater petrosal nerve,  foramen lacerum,  ptergyoid canal (+ deep petrosal nerve)  Pterygopalatie ganglion/fossa

Taste to hard and soft palates via greater and lesser palatine nerves (V2)

Preganglionics synapse in Pterygopalatine ganglion (hanging from V2) and send postanglionic parasympathetics through the following nerves:

  1. Greater/lesser palatine

  2. Posterior Nasal

  3. Nasopalatine

  4. Zygomatic – takes to lacrimal gland via lacrimal nerve (V1)

Nervus Intermedius: Chorda Tympani facial canal  tympanic cavity just before stylomastoid foramen,  inner surface of tympanic membrane (over malleolus)  pterygotympanic fissure  infratemporal fossa

With lingual nerve, Taste to anterior 2/3 of tongue

Preganglionics travel with lingual nerve to the submandibular ganglion, where they synapse and follow the lingual nerve to

  1. Submandibular gland

  2. Sublingual gland

  3. Linugal gland

Vestibulocochlear (VIII)

Enters internal acoustic meatus with the facial nerve






(Medulla Oblongata)

Third Branchial Arch

Emerges from post-olivary sulcus, gains sensory fibers from petrous and superior ganglia, exit the jugular foramen

Enters tympanic cavity, tympanic plexus, hiatus of the lesser petrosal nerve, foramen ovale, infratemporal fossa, auriculotemporal nerve (V3), and facial nerve



1) postganglionic sympathetic fibers (superior cervical ganglion)

2) Twig of facial nerve

3) Sensory

4)Preganglionic Parasympathetics

Sensory to the tympanic cavity

(pain from the middle ear can be referred from or to the tonsils)

Parasympathetics travel through the tympanic plexus and reconverge as the lesser petrosal nerve. This descends through hiatus of lesser petrosal nerve and exits skull via foramen ovale infratemporal fossa. Here, the preganglionic parasympathetics synapse in otic ganglion. Postganglionic fibers then run with auriculotemporal and facial nerves to the parotid gland


Sensory from baroreceoptors/chemoreceptors from the carotid sinus/body


To the stylopharyngeus muscle


Sensory to mucosa of pharynx and palatine tonsils


To posterior 1/3 of the tongue

Vagus (X)

(Medulla Oblongata)

4-6th Branchial Arches

Exits via post-olivary sulcus and descends to jugular foramen, where it receives sensory fibers from the superior and inferior ganglia. Exits via jugular foramen.

Meningeal Branch

Sensory to the dura mater

Auricular Branch

External acoustic meatus to the tympanic membrane

Carotid Branch

Sensory from baroreceoptors/chemoreceptors from the carotid sinus/body

Aortic Branch

Sensory from baroreceoptors/chemoreceptors from the aortic arch/body


Sensory to the Pharynx.

Motor to the muscles of the pharynx (except stylopharyngeus IX)

and palate (except tensor of the palate (V3)

Superior Laryngeal

  1. Internal

Pierces thyrohyoid membrane, with superior laryngeal artery

  1. Exterior

Runs with superior thyroid a.

Larynx  vocal cords, and Taste to epiglottis and valleculae of the tongue

Cricothyroid muscle and cricopharyngeus portion (internal constrictor

Recurrent Laryngeal

Sensory of larynx below vocal cords

All muscles of larynx (except cricothyroid)

Branches below the Laryngeal Nerves

Carry preganglionic parasympathetics to the thoracic viscera and abdominal organs (fore- and midgut

Accessory (XI)

(Medulla Oblongata)

Branchial arches beyond 6

Ascends from C3-C4 between dorsal and ventral rootlets, enters foramen magnum, exits skull via jugular foramen

Sternocleidomastoid and Trapezius

Hypoglossal (XII)

Medulla Oblongata

Emerges from pre-olivary sulcus in line with ventral roots of spinal nerves. Leaves skull by hypoglossal canal  tongue

All intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of tongue (except palatoglossus  vagus)

- Cell bodies of general sensory neurons (pseudounipolar) are in ganglia of: Trigeminal (V), Facial (VII), Glossopharyngeal (IX), and Vagus (X)
- Taste neurons (pseudounipolar) are located in the ganglia of: Facial (VII), Glossopharyngeal (IX), and Vagus (X)
- Nerves 9-11 (IX-XI) exit the jugular foramen!!
- Branchiomeric Cranial Nerves (carry special visceral efferent/ branchial motor fibers):
1) Trigeminal – Branchial Arch 1
2) Facial – Branchial Arch 2
3) Glossopharyngeal – Branchial Arch 3
4) Vagus – Branchial Arch 4-6
5)Accessory – Theoretical arches beyond 6

Suprahyoid Muscles
Digastric (anterior belly) V3 via inferior alveolar nerve
(posterior belly) facial nerve
Stylohyoid – facial nerve
Mylohyoid – V3 via inferior alveolar nerve
Geniohyoid – ventral root of C1 via hypoglossus
Infrahyoid Muscles:
Strap muscles (omohyoid, sternohyoid, sternothyroid) – ansa cervicalis
Thyrohyoid - ventral root of C1 via hypoglossus

Trigeminal Nerve – First Branchial Arch



Further Branches





Opthalmic Division (V1)

Through lateral wall of cavernous sinus and supraorbital fissure



Supraorbital (larger and more lateral)

Above trochlea/Thru supraorbital foramen

To scalp and upper eyelid, to vertex of scalp



Above lateral rectus

To lacrimal gland and upper eyelid

CARRY: To lacrimal gland from zygomatic of V2 (from greater petrosal of VII)


Long Ciliary

Sensory fibers to cornea

CARRY: SYMPATHETICS to the dilator of pupil and vasculature of eye

Posterior Ethmoidal

Thru posterior ethmoidal foramen

Posterior ethmoidal air cells and sphenoidal air sinus

Anterior Ethmoidal

Anterior ethmoidal foramen, through cribiform plate to cranial cavity, through nasal slit, and to external nasal branch

Anterior/Middle ethmoidal air cells, meninges, anterior nasal septum and ant. nasal wall, posterior ½ of nose skin


Under trochlea

Middle corner of upper eyelid, side of nose

Maxillary Division (V2)

Thru lateral wall of cavernous sinus and through foramen rotundum to the ptergyopalatine fossa

Maxillary (V2)

Greater and Lesser Palatine

(from pterygopalatine ganglion)

Thru greater and lesser palatine foramina

Sensory to hard and soft palate

Carry taste to hard and soft palates from pterygopalatine ganglion (VII – greater petrosal)

CARRY: Parasympathetic branches to mucosa of hard and soft palate  mucous

Posterior Nasal

(pterygopalatine g

From ganglion and thru Sphenopalatine foramen

Sensory to posterior nasal septum/walls

CARRY: To nasal glands


(pteyrgopalatine ganglion)

From ganglion and thru

Sphenopalatine foramen and incisive foramen

To nasal septum, anterior hard palate

CARRY: To nasal/palatine glands




Inferior orbital fissure

To zygomatic and temporal regions of face

CARRY: To lacrimal gland via lacrimal nerve V1

Superior Alveolar

Thru alveolar canals

To teeth and gums, and maxillary sinus


Inferior orbital fissure, Infraorbital groove, foramen, canal… TERMINAL BR.

To lower eyelid, anterior cheek, upper lip, nasal vestibule, side of nose

Mandibular Division (V3)

Through foramen ovale to the infratemporal fossa

Motor Branches

To muscles of mastication, ant. belly of digastric and mylohyoid, to tensor of palate and tensor tympani


Runs with middle meningeal artery through the foramen spinosum

To dura mater


To corner of mouth and inside of mouth


Splits around the middle meningeal artery, reforms and runs to parotid gland

To the external ear and scalp over temporal region

Temporalmandibular joint (TMJ!!!!!)

CARRY: postganglionic parasympathetics from IX from lesser auricular and delivers to facial  parotid gland

Inferior Alveolar

Mandibular foramen, mandibular canal, mental foramen  mental nerve

Lower teeth and gums, and lower chin

Gives off motor branch to mylohyoid & ant. digastrics


Runs near 3rd molar and duct of submandibular gland

Sensory to anterior 2/3 tonuge

Taste from chorda tympanii

CARRY: (submandibular ganglion) from chorda tympani  submandibular, sublingual and lingual glands)

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