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vagus nerve (auricular branch, anatomy)

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The auricular branch of the vagus nerve on each side first forms at the level of the superior vagal ganglion. It runs slightly superiorly then laterally intermediate between the tympanic and mastoid parts of the temporal bone within the mastoid canaliculus.

The nerve fibres supply sensation from a:

  • posteroinferior section of the tympanic membrane
  • posterior section of skin lining the external auditory meatus
  • small skin patch behind the auricle of the ear

The cell bodies of these fibres are within the superior ganglion and their central connection is to the sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve.