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Auriculotemporal nerve

Recommended video: Mandibular nerve [19:26]
Course and branches of the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve.

The auriculotemporal nerve is a branch of the mandibular nerve (CN V3) and it  contains sensory, vasomotor, and parasympathetic fibers.

The auriculotemporal nerve arises from a small loop comprised of two roots that encircle the middle meningeal artery. The first root is the superior somatosensory root. It carries fibers from the mandibular nerve (CN V3), and these then pass through the otic ganglion.

The superior somatosensory root of the auriculotemporal nerve contains general somatic afferent fibers that provide sensation to the tragus and helix of the ear, the external surface of the tympanic membrane, the posterior part of the temporomandibular joint, and the skin of the posterior part of the temple.

The second root is the the inferior parasympathetic root. It receives postganglionic fibers originating from the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) within the otic ganglion.  These fibers provide autonomic parasympathetic innervation to the parotid gland

Both the superior somatosensory and inferior parasympathetic roots converge to form a single trunk. This trunk then courses deep to the lateral pterygoid muscle and posterior to the temporomandibular joint. It then travels between the sphenomandibular ligament and the neck of the mandible.

Term  English term: Auriculotemporal nerve
Latin term: Nervus auriculotemporalis
Branches  Nerve to external acoustic meatus
Branches of auriculotemporal nerve to tympanic membrane
Parotid branches of auriculotemporal nerve
Anterior auricular nerves
Superficial temporal branches of auriculotemporal nerve
Innervation External surface of tympanic membrane
Skin of posterior part of temporal region
Skin of tragus and helix of ear
Parotid gland
Posterior part of temporomandibular joint

Learn more about the auriculotemporal nerve in our study unit and articles: 

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