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

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

Frontal Nerve

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

A variation has been reported in which the frontal nerve divides at a variable point before leaving the orbit to form supratrochlear and supraorbital branches. In such cases, the supraorbital branch passes through the supraorbital foramen, through which the undivided nerve ordinarily passes.

When the foramen is absent, it may have a special groove, the frontal notch (Henle).

The frontal nerve runs, at first forward, in a roughly a sagittal direction. In approximately 90% of subjects it divides during its course within the orbit, but in 10.5% it remains undivided. It divides into the larger lateral supraorbital nerve and smaller supratrochlear nerve which runs medially. In 58.8% of subjects the supraorbital nerve does not divide (Trauzette and Jo, 1972), but in 30.7% it divides into the medial branch which leaves the orbit through the frontal foramen or notch, and the lateral branch passes-out through the frontal foramen and notch. In about 90% of subjects the supratrochlear nerve runs along the surface of the superior oblique muscle. In 4.4% there are two supratrochlear nerves.


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

Henle, J. (1868) Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomie des Menchen. von Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn. Braunschweig.

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

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

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