Maxillary nerve

Structure
  • It begins at the middle of the trigeminal ganglion as a flattened plexiform band, and, passing horizontally forward.

  • It leaves the skull through the foramen rotundum, where it becomes more cylindrical in form, and firmer in texture.
  • It then crosses the pterygopalatine fossa, inclines lateralward on the back of the maxilla, and enters the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure.
  • It then runs forward on the floor of the orbit, at first in the infraorbital groove and then in the infraorbital canal remaining outside the periosteum of the orbit. 
  • It then emerges on the face through the infraorbital foramen and terminates by dividing into palpebral, lateral nasal and labial branches. 
  • The nerve is accompanied by the infraorbital branch of (the third part of) the maxillary artery and the accompanying vein.
Branches
  • Its branches may be divided into four groups, depending upon where they branch off: in the cranium, in the pterygopalatine fossa, in the infraorbital canal, or on the face.
  • In the cranium
  • Middle meningeal nerve in the meninges
  • From the pterygopalatine fossa
  1. Zygomatic nerve (zygomaticotemporal nerve, zygomaticofacial nerve), through the inferior orbital fissure
  2. Nasopalatine nerve, through the sphenopalatine foramen
  3. Posterior superior alveolar nerve
  4. Greater and lesser palatine nerves
  5. Pharyngeal nerve( nasopharynx)
  • In the infraorbital canal
  1. Middle superior alveolar nerve
  2. Anterior superior alveolar nerve
  3. Infraorbital nerve

  • On the face
  1. Inferior palpebral nerve
  2. Superior labial nerve
Function
  • The Maxillary nerve gives cutaneous branches to the face. 
  • It also carries parasympathetic preganglionic fibers (sphenopalatine) and postganglionic fibers (zygomatic, greater and lesser petrosal and nasopalatine) to and from the pterigopalatine ganglion.
  • Maxillary nerve with mandibular nerve supplies Middle craninal fossa

Exam Question
  • Maxillary nerve leaves the skull through the foramen rotundum
  • Maxillary nerve lies in pterygopalatine fossa
  • Maxillary nerve supplies nasopharynx
  • Middle superior alveolar nerve is the branch of infraorbital branch of maxillary nerve
  • Infraorbital nerve is the branch of maxillary nerve that lies in infraorbital canal
  • Maxillary nerve with mandibular nerve supplies Middle cranial fossa

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