Anastomoses between lower cranial and upper cervical nerves: A comprehensive review with potential significance during skull base and neck operations, Part I: Trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves

Academic Article


  • Descriptions of the anatomy of the neural communications among the cranial nerves and their branches is lacking in the literature. Knowledge of the possible neural interconnections found among these nerves may prove useful to surgeons who operate in these regions to avoid inadvertent traction or transection. We review the literature regarding the anatomy, function, and clinical implications of the complex neural networks formed by interconnections among the lower cranial and upper cervical nerves. A review of germane anatomic and clinical literature was performed. The review is organized in two parts. Part I concerns the anastomoses between the trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves or their branches with any other nerve trunk or branch in the vicinity. Part II concerns the anastomoses among the glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory and hypoglossal nerves and their branches or among these nerves and the first four cervical spinal nerves; the contribution of the autonomic nervous system to these neural plexuses is also briefly reviewed. Part I is presented in this article. An extensive anastomotic network exists among the lower cranial nerves. Knowledge of such neural intercommunications is important in diagnosing and treating patients with pathology of the skull base. Clin. Anat. 27:118-130, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Clinical Anatomy  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shoja MM; Oyesiku NM; Griessenauer CJ; Radcliff V; Loukas M; Chern JJ; Benninger B; Rozzelle CJ; Shokouhi G; Shane Tubbs R
  • Start Page

  • 118
  • End Page

  • 130
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 1