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Nerve and Blood Supply of the Tongue

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What is the Tongue?

An organ of the Oral Cavity, which aids speech, swallowing, mastication, taste and oral clearing. Here you can find out how the Tongue is innervated by the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), and which arteries and veins supply the tongue and its musculature.

Neurovasculature of the tongue
Recommended video: Neurovasculature of the tongue
Arteries, veins and nerves of the tongue.

Nerve Supply

The tongue is divided into the anterior two thirds and a posterior third when discussing its innervation. It is supplied via sensory and motor pathways to both sections.

The Anteriortwo thirds are innervated by:

The Posterior third is innervated by:

  • Sensory branches of the Glossopharyngeal Nerve (CN IX), for sensation and taste.
  • Motoric branches of the Hypoglossal Nerve (CN XII)

The Hypoglossal Nerve (CN XII) provides motor innervation to all the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles of the tongue except the Palatoglossus Muscle which is innervated by the Vagus nerve (CN X).

Arterial Blood Supply

The path of the arterial blood supply for the Tongue is as follows (from source to destination):

  1. Heart - Aorta
  2. Aortic Arch
  3. Left side: Common Carotid Artery, Right side: Brachiocephalic Trunk and Common Carotid Artery
  4. External Carotid Artery
  5. Lingual Artery - Enters the Tongue deep to the Hyoglossus muscle

Venous Drainage

The path of the venous drainage of the blood supply for the Tongue continues in a loop form from the organ, back to the Heart (from destination back to source):

  1. Tongue Musculature
  2. Dorsal and Deep Lingual Veins
  3. Right and Left Internal Jugular Veins
  4. Right and Left Brachiocephalic Veins
  5. Superior Vena Cava - Heart
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Show references

References:

  • Luke Cascarini, Clare Schilling, Ben Gurney, Peter Brennan, Oxford Handbook of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 1st Edition, Oxford, Chapter 2, Pg. 14
  • Frank H. Netter MD, Atlas of Human Anatomy, 4th Edition, Saunders, Chapter 1 and 3, Plates 70, 71, 136, 137, 231
  • Image: morgueFile/screaming_mouth_open

Author: Dr. Alexandra Sieroslawska

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