Anatomy Atlases(tm) : A digital library of anatomy information

Home | About | FAQ | Reviews | Search

Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Cranial Nerves and Ganglia: Auriculotemporal Nerve

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Cranial Nerves and Ganglia

Auriculotemporal Nerve

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

This nerve carries the otic ganglion, which is derived from glossopharyngeal neurons.

The nerve usually arises by two roots from the posterior division of the mandibular nerve. The two roots usually surround the middle meningeal nerve before joining to form a single trunk. A variation in this relationship has been described in which the middle meningeal artery pierces the anterior root instead of passing between the two roots.

According to Baumel, Vanderheiden and McElenney the auriculotemporal nerve is commonly misrepresented in both illustrations and textbooks. Their 85 dissections of the nerve demonstrate that the roots of the "typical" auriculotemporal nerve do not form a tight buttonhole around the middle meningeal artery.

Instead the roots outline an elongated, V-shaped interval with the roots widely separated from one another. At their junction the roots form a short trunk which immediately breaks up in line with the posterior border of the mandible into a spray of branches. The superficial temporal ramus of the auriculotemporal nerve should not be considered as the main continuation of the nerve, but merely as its largest branch. A substantial portion of the nerve makes up its two communicating rami with the facial nerve; these are the strongest and most consistent of the many peripheral communications between trigeminal and facial nerves. Common variations in configuration, branching, and relationships of the nerve are discussed in their paper.


Baumel, J.J. and D.Y. Beard (1961) The accessory meningeal artery of man. J. Anat. 95:386-402.

Baumel, J.J., Vanderheiden, J.P. and J. E. McElenney. (1971) The auriculotemporal Nerve in Man. Am. J. Anat. 130(4):431-440.

Cushing, H. (1904) The sensory distribution of the fifth cranial nerve. Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin 15:213-232.

Dixon, A.F. (1896) On the development of the branches of the fifth cranial nerve in man. Trans. Roy. Scient. Soc., Dublin. 6(S.2): 19-69.

Huber, G.C. (1930) Piersol's Human Anatomy, 9th ed., L.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia.

Krizan, Z. (1956) Beitrag zur Kenntnis des dritten Trigeminusastes. Pract. oto-rhino-laryng. 18:144-154.

Plá Majó, B. (1934) Contribucion al estudio del ojal nervioso del auriculo-temporal. Arquivo Anat. Antrop. 16:233-244.

Schaefer, E.A., Symington, J. and T.H. Bryce., Eds. (1915) Quain's Anatomy, 11th ed. Longmans, Green, and Co., London.

Weigner, C. (1898) Le ganglion otique. Bibliog. Anat. 6:302-306.

Section Top | Title Page

Home | About Us | FAQ | Reviews | Contact Us | Search

Anatomy Atlases is curated by Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. and Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D.

Please send us comments by filling out our Comment Form.

All contents copyright © 1995-2018 the Author(s) and Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. All rights reserved.

"Anatomy Atlases", the Anatomy Atlases logo, and "A digital library of anatomy information" are all Trademarks of Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.

Anatomy Atlases is funded in whole by Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. Advertising is not accepted.

Your personal information remains confidential and is not sold, leased, or given to any third party be they reliable or not.

The information contained in Anatomy Atlases is not a substitute for the medical care and advice of your physician. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.