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Great Auricular Nerve
Nervous System

Great Auricular Nerve

Nervus auricularis magnus

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Quick Facts

Origin: Anterior rami of second and third cervical nerves (C2-C3).

Course: Ascends on the surface of sternocleidomastoid muscle, superficial to the deep cervical fascia.

Branches: Anterior and posterior branches.

Supply: Sensory innervation for the skin over the parotid gland, mastoid process, external acoustic meatus, and external ear.

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The great auricular nerve arises from the anterior rami of the second and third cervical nerves.


The great auricular nerve winds around the posterior border of sternocleidomastoid muscle and perforates the deep cervical fascia to ascend on the surface of the muscle, beneath the platysma, along with external jugular vein. On reaching the parotid gland, it divides into its terminal branches.


The greater auricular nerve divides into anterior and posterior branches.

Supplied Structures

The great auricular nerve carries cutaneous sensory information. The anterior branch of the greater auricular nerve travels to the skin over the parotid gland, while the posterior branch supplies the skin over the mastoid process and external ear.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Frey’s syndrome

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Great Auricular Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The great auricular nerve is a sensory branch from the cervical plexus that crosses the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle to supply sensation to the skin inferior to the external auditory meatus.

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