Microsurgical anatomy of the trigeminal nerve



The objective of this study is to review surgical anatomy of the trigeminal nerve. We also demonstrate some pictures involving the trigeminal nerve and its surrounding connective and neurovascular structures. Ten adult cadaveric heads were studied, using a magnification ranging from 3× to 40×, after perfusion of the arteries and veins with colored latex. The trigeminal nerve is the largest and most complex of the cranial nerves. It serves as a major conduit of sensory input from the face and provides motor innervation to the muscles of mastication. Because of its size and complexity, it is essential to have thorough knowledge of the nerve before diagnoses and treatment of the pathologic processes in the orofacial, temporomandibular, infratemporal, and pterygopalatine areas. The trigeminal nerve is encountered with imaging or surgery of the skull base surgery. Thus, a comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy of the trigeminal nerve is crucial for performing the surgical procedures without significant complication. Clin. Anat. 27:61–88, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.