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Third Occipital Nerve
Nervous System

Third Occipital Nerve

Nervus occipitalis tertius

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Quick Facts

Origin: Posterior ramus of third cervical nerve.

Course: Curves around C2—C3 zygapophyseal joint as it heads towards the spinous process to pierce the overlying muscles and reach the scalp.

Branches: Posterior cutaneous branch.

Supply: Motor innervation to multifidus and semispinalis capitis muscles. Sensory innervation to the scalp below superior nuchal line and to the C2-C3 zygapophyseal joint.

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Origin

The third occipital nerve (or the medial branch of the posterior ramus of the third cervical nerve) arises from the posterior ramus of the third cervical nerve. It is one of two branches, the other being the lateral branch.

Course

The third occipital nerve curves around the C2—C3 zygapophyseal joint as it heads towards the spinous process and pierces the overlying muscles to reach the skin.

Branches

The third occipital nerve gives rise to a posterior cutaneous branch.

Supplied Structures

The third occipital nerve provides motor innervation to the multifidus and semispinalis capitis muscles.

Somatic afferent neurons within the posterior cutaneous branch of the third occipital nerve provide sensory innervation to the skin below the superior nuchal line.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Third Occipital Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The third occipital nerve (TON) is the superficial branch of the C-3 dorsal ramus.

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