German Contact Help Login Register
Register now
Library

The Maxillary Branch of the Trigeminal Nerve

Anatomy

The Trigeminal Nerve is the fifth of the Twelve Cranial Nerves, which is divided into three main branches: the ophthalmic nerve, the maxillary nerve and The Mandibular Nerve. Its second division is the maxillary branch, which consists of afferent sensory fibers, parasympathetic and sympathetic fibers. The word afferent means toward the centre, as in from a peripheral area of a limb to the central nervous system. The word efferent is the opposite of afferent, meaning away from the centre and toward the periphery; when the stimulus is carried back to the Brain from a peripheral area.

Pathway

The pathway for afferent sensory fibers of the maxillary nerve from the proprioceptors until the trigeminal nuclei (after the merger into one main cranial nerve) is the following (from the initiation in the periphery to the termination in the brain):

  • The second facial area that is innervated by a division of the trigeminal nerve (see image), consists of the area under the tip of the nose, the nostrils, the upper lip, the zygomatico-facial area and a section of the temporal area.
  • The maxillary nerve branches that innervate the maxillary area or the second facial area include the major and minor palatine nerves, the recurrent pharyngeal nerve, the posterior superior nasal nerves, the nasopalatine nerve and the superior alveolar nerve which all synapse on the pterygo-palatine ganglion.
  • Other maxillary nerve branches that don’t synapse upon the pterygo-palatine ganglion but directly continue into the main branch of the maxillary nerve include the infraorbital nerve and the zygomatic nerve branches, namely the recurrent zygomaticofacial nerve and the zygomaticotemporal nerve.
  • The main branch of the zygomatic nerve is an exception because it doesn’t directly synapse on the pterygo-palatine ganglion, but it does carry both sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers from the ganglion to the lacrimal gland.
  • The recurrent meningeal nerve is a small branch stemming from the maxillary nerve itself.
  • The maxillary nerve synapses on the gasseri ganglion (ganglion of the trigeminal nerve).
  • The postganglionic fibers continue to the pontine nucleus and the spinal nucleus and tract.
Show references

Reference:

  • Frank H. Netter, Atlas der Anatomie, 5th Edition (Bilingual Edition: English and German), Saunders, Chapter 1, Plate 121, published 2010.

Author: Dr. Alexandra Sierosławska

© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.
Dashboard head
Head
The head is comprised of many structures including the eyes, ears, nose and mouth, each of which aid in various sensory functions, such as sight, hearing, smell, and t...
Video count 10 Quiz count 6 Atlas count 90 Article count 104
Muscles of facial expression
Muscles
Muscles of mastication
Muscles
Muscles of mastication II
Muscle Facts
Superficial blood vessels of the head
Arteries
Veins
Superficial nerves of the head
Nerves
Maxillary artery
Arteries
Dashboard cranial nerves
Cranial nerves
The twelve cranial nerves emerge directly from the brain and the brainstem. Via the cranial nerves, information is exchanged between the brain and areas of the body su...
Video count 0 Quiz count 1 Atlas count 12 Article count 18
Dashboard skull
Skull
The skull is the most complex arrangement of bones within the body and serves mainly to protect your brain. This chapter is entirely dedicated to all the bones that de...
Video count 10 Quiz count 7 Atlas count 218 Article count 211
Anterior and lateral skull
Bones
Posterior and lateral skull
Bones
Calvaria
Bones
Inferior view of base of the skull
Bones
Superior view of base of the skull
Bones
Midsagittal skull
Bones
Mandible
Bones
Dashboard orbit
Orbit and contents
The bony orbit is the skeletal cavity which is made up of several cranial structures and surrounds the soft tissue that make up the eye. Every structure found on this ...
Video count 3 Quiz count 4 Atlas count 71 Article count 56
Muscles of the orbit
Muscles
Blood vessels of the orbit
Arteries
Veins
Nerves of the orbit
Nerves
Eyeball
Organs

You might be also interested in the following articles

This is an article covering the anatomy and pathology of the human heart. Learn all about the main organ of the circulatory system now at Kenhub!
This is an article covering the anatomy, function and related clinical points of the alveoli. Start learning those structures now at Kenhub.
Here you will find a description of the anatomy, supply, function and pathology of the Pectoralis minor, a chest muscle. Start learning it now.
This is an article covering the anatomy of the superficial arteries and veins of the face and scalp. Learn all about them now at Kenhub.
The Deltoid Muscle is an important muscle of the shoulder. It acts as the main abductor of the shoulder joint. Learn all about it here.
The four masticatory muscles are involved in the grinding and chewing of food. Learn all about them at kenHub now!
This is an article which focuses on the embryological development of the palate, its anatomy and related pathology. Start learning about the palate here.
This is an article focused on the blood supply, innervation and venous and lymphatic drainage of the small intestine. Learn its neurovasculature here.
This is an article covering the anatomy, muscles, blood supply, innervation and pathology of the Pharynx. Learn all about this structure here.
The ethmoid bone is a central and porous bone of the skull. Learn all about its anatomy, borders and osseous development at kenHub now!