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Branches of Maxillary Nerve to Pterygopalatine Ganglion (Left)
Nervous System

Branches of Maxillary Nerve to Pterygopalatine Ganglion (Left)

Rami ganglionici pterygopalatini nervi maxillaris

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Quick Facts

Origin: Maxillary nerve.

Course: Run a short distance inferiorly to the pterygopalatine ganglion.

Branches: None.

Supply: Sensory: general sensory information from the nasal cavity, orbit, palate, and pharynx to the brainstem; Parasympathetic: transmit postganglionic parasympathetic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion to the zygomatic nerve.

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Origin

The branches of the maxillary nerve to the pterygopalatine ganglion are typically present as two small branches that emerge from the maxillary nerve in the pterygopalatine fossa.

Course

The branches of the maxillary nerve to the pterygopalatine ganglion descend a short distance within the pterygopalatine fossa to the pterygopalatine ganglion that is located just inferior to the maxillary nerve.

Branches

The ganglionic branches of the maxillary nerve simply connect the maxillary nerve to the pterygopalatine ganglion. Thus, all parasympathetic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion that ascend to the maxillary nerve, and all sensory fibers that travel through the pterygopalatine ganglion to the maxillary nerve run through these ganglionic branches.

Supplied Structures

The ganglionic branches of the maxillary nerve are mixed branches containing both general sensory and parasympathetic fibers.

They include sensory fibers from the nasal cavity, the palate, ethmoid air cells, and the nasopharynx that travel to the maxillary nerve via the pterygopalatine ganglion.

The orbital branches are small and innervate portions of the sphenoid sinus and the orbital periosteum. The pharyngeal nerve runs posteriorly through the palatovaginal canal and innervates the mucosa of the nasopharynx.

The posterior superior nasal nerves run anteriorly and innervate mucosa overlying the posterior and superior portions of both the nasal concha and septum, as well as some posterior ethmoid air cells.

The greater palatine nerve descends, giving off the posterior inferior nasal branches to the mucosa of the inferior concha. After passing through the greater palatine foramen, the greater palatine nerve spreads to convey sensory information from most of the mucosa of the hard palate and the lingual gingiva.

The lesser palatine nerve descends through the lesser palatine foramen to innervate the mucosa of the soft palate, uvula, and palatine tonsil.

The nasopalatine nerve runs medially through the sphenopalatine foramen to innervate the inferior nasal septum and, after passing through the incisive canal, the anterior hard palate and lingual gingiva.

The ganglionic branches also transmit parasympathetic fibers, destined for the lacrimal gland, to the maxillary nerve and its direct branches. These parasympathetic fibers originate in the pterygopalatine ganglion where they synapse with the preganglionic parasympathetic fibers of the nerve of the pterygoid canal (Norton, 2016).

References

Norton, N. S. (2016) Netter's Head and Neck Anatomy for Dentistry E-BookElsevier Health Sciences.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Maxillary Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The maxillary nerve, or second division of the trigeminal, is a sensory nerve that crosses the pterygopalatine fossa, traverses the orbit in the infraorbital groove and canal in the floor of the orbit, and appears upon the face at the infraorbital foramen as the infraorbital nerve.

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