The Great Auricular Nerve: Anatomical Study with Application to Nerve Grafting Procedures.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

World Neurosurg


external jugular vein; great auricular nerve; nerve graft; sternocleidomastoid


INTRODUCTION: When it comes to autogenous nerve grafting, the sural and great auricular nerve are the two nerves predominately used for trigeminal and facial nerve repair. Arising from the second and third cervical ventral rami, the great auricular nerve emerges from the posterior border of the sternocleidomastoid coursing superiorly and anteriorly toward the ear.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eleven sides from five Caucasian and 1 Asian cadaveric heads (all fresh-frozen) were used. One male and five females were used with an age at death ranging from 57 to 91 years with a mean of 80.3 years. Measurements were made from the inferior border of the ear to the GAN, the distance from the GAN to EJV, the distance from the inferior border of the mastoid process to the GAN; the proximal, medial and distal diameters of the GAN were also measured as well as the length of the GAN that was obtained from this exposure.

CONCLUSIONS: The great auricular nerve is an excellent option for use in nerve grafting for repair of, for example, facial dysfunction. In this study, we review our measurements, techniques for identification and dissecting techniques for the GAN. The proximity to the operative area and minimal complications associated with GAN grafting might contribute to improved patient satisfaction and better outcomes for regarding functional restoration.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)




Pathology & Laboratory Medicine