What is the anatomy of the facial nerve?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Danette C Taylor, DO, MS, FACN; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

The facial nerve contains parasympathetic fibers to the nose, palate, and lacrimal glands. Its course is tortuous, both centrally and peripherally. The facial nerve travels a 30-mm intraosseous course through the internal auditory canal (with the eighth cranial nerve) and through the internal fallopian canal in the petrous temporal bone. This bony confinement limits the amount that the nerve can swell before it becomes compressed.

The nucleus of the facial nerve lies within the reticular formation of the pons, adjacent to the fourth ventricle. The facial nerve roots include fibers from the motor, solitary, and salivatory nuclei. The preganglionic parasympathetic fibers that originate in the salivatory nucleus join the fibers from nucleus solitarius to form the nervus intermedius.


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