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Posterior Auricular Nerve (Right)
Nervous System

Posterior Auricular Nerve (Right)

Nervus auricularis posterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Facial nerve.

Course: Runs superiorly between the mastoid process and the external acoustic meatus.

Branches: Auricular and occipital branches.

Supply: Sensory to the skin of the ear; Motor innervation to auricular muscles.

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The posterior auricular nerve is a branch of the main trunk of the facial nerve, originating shortly after the facial nerve exits from the stylomastoid foramen. It is typically the first branch to split off the facial nerve after exiting the stylomastoid foramen.


From its origin just inferior to the stylomastoid foramen, the posterior auricular nerve runs superiorly along the anterior surface of the mastoid process. It continues up between the mastoid process and the external acoustic meatus before splitting into auricular and occipital branches.


The posterior auricular nerve splits into an auricular branch and an occipital branch.

Supplied Structures

The posterior auricular nerve is a mixed nerve. It conveys general sensation from portions of the external ear and external acoustic meatus via its auricular branch.

The posterior auricular nerve also conveys branchial motor nerve efferents. It innervates the superior and posterior auricular muscles via the auricular branch and the occipitalis muscle via the occipital branch.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Posterior Auricular Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The posterior auricular nerve arises distal to the origin of the chorda tympani to innervate the skin of the auricle and pinna and provides motor branches to intrinsic auricular muscles and the occipital belly of the occipitofrontalis.

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