Commonly, the nerve branches from the anterior mandibular nerve trunk pass between the roof of infratemporal fossa and the superior head of lateral pterygoid. However, varied courses of the mandibular nerve branches can be frequently observed. The purpose of this study was to clarify the positional relationships and the clinical relevance of the course variations of the branches of the anterior mandibular nerve trunk with reference to the surrounding anatomical structures. Thirty-six hemi-sectioned heads were studied in detail. In 20 cases, the posterior deep temporal nerve had a common trunk with the masseteric nerve and was then divided anteriorly (15 cases) or posteriorly (five cases). In 16 cases, the posterior deep temporal nerve arose from the mandibular nerve trunk independently. Based on the branching patterns of the middle deep temporal nerve, type A (one twig of the middle deep temporal nerve) was most frequent and occurred in 41.7%. Similarly, type B (two twigs), type C (three twigs) and type D (four twigs) were observed in 36.1%, 16.7%, and 5.5%, respectively. The twigs of the middle deep temporal nerve, which pierced the muscle fibers of the superior head of lateral pterygoid, were found in 21 cases (58.3%). Cases in which the middle deep temporal nerve pierced through all areas of the superior head were most frequent (56.5%). These results suggest that the piercing patterns of the middle deep temporal nerve show there is a possibility that it may be compressed during the actions of the superior head of lateral pterygoid.
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Acknowledgements This study was supported by a Faculty Research Grant of Yonsei University, College of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea (2001).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging