Perspective View of Left Lateral Neck
Perspective view of left lateral neck. The zygomatic arch and most of the ramus of the mandible have been removed to expose the superficial aspect of the infratemporal fossa. Posterior to the ramus is the facial nerve and external carotid artery. Both are contained within the substance of the parotid gland, which has been removed.
The superficial temporal artery, a terminal branch of the external carotid, crosses the root of the zygomatic arch to the lateral scalp region in company with the auriculotemporal branch of the mandibular nerve. Posterior to the condyle of the mandible is the external acoustic meatus. Inferior to this opening is the posterior digastric muscle whose intermediate tendon unites with the greater horn of the hyoid bone from which the anterior digastric continues to the anterior mandible. The hypoglossal nerve courses deep to the posterior digastric before abruptly turning forward deep to the intermediate tendon and mylohyoid muscle to enter the floor of the mouth. At the bend of this nerve the superior root of the ansa cervicalis leaves the endoneurial wrapping of the hypoglossal nerve to descend in the neck where it is involved with innervation of the infrahyoid muscles. The internal jugular vein can be seen in the lower center of the image. Descending obliquely on its upper external surface is the spinal accessory nerve. Anterior to the vein is the common carotid artery. Posterior to the vein is the levator scapulae muscle. Cutaneous branches of the cervical plexus are also visible and include the transverse cervical nerve, great auricular nerve, and lesser occipital nerve. Attached to the skull posteriorly is splenius capitis muscle. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)