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Anastomoses between lower cranial and upper cervical nerves

A comprehensive review with potential significance during skull base and neck operations, Part I: Trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves

Authors

  • Mohammadali M. Shoja,

    Corresponding author
    1. Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital, Birmingham, Alabama
    2. Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
    3. Medical Philosophy and History Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
    • Correspondence to: Mohammadali M. Shoja, 1600 7th Avenue South ACC 400, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA. E-mail: shoja.m@gmail.com

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  • Nelson M. Oyesiku,

    1. Department of Neurosurgery, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Christoph J. Griessenauer,

    1. Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
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  • Virginia Radcliff,

    1. Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital, Birmingham, Alabama
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  • Marios Loukas,

    1. Department of Anatomical Sciences, St. George's University, Grenada
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  • Joshua J. Chern,

    1. Pediatric Neurosurgery Associates at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Brion Benninger,

    1. Department of Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Western University of Health Sciences, Lebanon, Oregon
    2. Department of Integrative Biosciences, Oregon Health and Science University, Western University of Health Sciences, Lebanon, Oregon
    3. Department of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Western University of Health Sciences, Lebanon, Oregon
    4. Department of Anatomy, Oregon Health and Science University, Western University of Health Sciences, Lebanon, Oregon
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  • Curtis J. Rozzelle,

    1. Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital, Birmingham, Alabama
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  • Ghaffar Shokouhi,

    1. Neuroscience Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
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  • R. Shane Tubbs

    1. Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital, Birmingham, Alabama
    2. Department of Anatomical Sciences, St. George's University, Grenada
    3. Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Descriptions of the anatomy of the neural communications among the cranial nerves and their branches is lacking in the literature. Knowledge of the possible neural interconnections found among these nerves may prove useful to surgeons who operate in these regions to avoid inadvertent traction or transection. We review the literature regarding the anatomy, function, and clinical implications of the complex neural networks formed by interconnections among the lower cranial and upper cervical nerves. A review of germane anatomic and clinical literature was performed. The review is organized in two parts. Part I concerns the anastomoses between the trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves or their branches with any other nerve trunk or branch in the vicinity. Part II concerns the anastomoses among the glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory and hypoglossal nerves and their branches or among these nerves and the first four cervical spinal nerves; the contribution of the autonomic nervous system to these neural plexuses is also briefly reviewed. Part I is presented in this article. An extensive anastomotic network exists among the lower cranial nerves. Knowledge of such neural intercommunications is important in diagnosing and treating patients with pathology of the skull base. Clin. Anat. 27:118–130, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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