Clinical Anatomy of the Lingual Nerve: A Review

Academic Article


  • Purpose Knowledge of lingual nerve anatomy is of paramount importance to dental practitioners and maxillofacial surgeons. The purpose of this article is to review lingual nerve anatomy from the cranial base to its insertion in the tongue and provide a more detailed explanation of its course to prevent procedural nerve injuries. Materials and Methods Fifteen human cadavers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine's Anatomical Donor Program were reviewed. The anatomic structures and landmarks were identified and confirmed by anatomists. Lingual nerve dissection was carried out and reviewed on 15 halved human cadaver skulls (total specimens, 28). Results Cadaveric dissection provides a detailed examination of the lingual nerve from the cranial base to tongue insertion. The lingual nerve receives the chorda tympani nerve approximately 1 cm below the bifurcation of the lingual and inferior alveolar nerves. The pathway of the lingual nerve is in contact with the periosteum of the mandible just behind the internal oblique ridge. The lingual nerve crosses the submandibular duct at the interproximal space between the mandibular first and second molars. The submandibular ganglion is suspended from the lingual nerve at the distal area of the second mandibular molar. Conclusion A zoning classification is another way to more accurately describe the lingual nerve based on close anatomic landmarks as seen in human cadaveric specimens. This system could identify particular areas of interest that might be at greater procedural risk.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sittitavornwong S; Babston M; Denson D; Zehren S; Friend J
  • Start Page

  • 926.e1
  • End Page

  • 926.e9
  • Volume

  • 75
  • Issue

  • 5