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Neurovascular Anatomy of the Left Temporal Bone Region and Cranial Nerves

Surgical Correlation


Neurovascular anatomy of the left temporal bone region and cranial nerves. The internal carotid artery is visible within the cavernous sinus (removed) in close relation to the oculomotor and trochlear nerves. The trigeminal nerve transitions into the Gasserian (trigeminal) ganglion within Meckel’s cave, dividing into V1 (ophthalmic), V2 (maxillary) and V3 (mandibular) divisions. The facial nerve is visible from its origin to the geniculate ganglion, where it turns and courses inferiorly as the mastoid segment giving off the chorda tympani before exiting the skull in the stylomastoid foramen. The chorda tympani provides taste sensation from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and provides parasympathetic input to the submandibular and sublingual glands. Caudally, the glossopharyngeal, vagus, and spinal accessory nerves enter the jugular foramen, while the hypoglossal nerve courses deep and medial and exits the skull via the hypoglossal canal. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)