Anatomical study of the superficial temporal branches of the auriculotemporal nerve: Application to surgery and other invasive treatments to the temporal region.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg


Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Cadaver; Female; Humans; Male; Mandibular Nerve; Temporal Lobe; Temporomandibular Joint; Trigeminal Nerve


BACKGROUND AND AIM: The auriculotemporal nerve (ATN) is one of the branches of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, which gives rise to many branches to the retromandibular and temporal regions. Of these, the superficial temporal branch can occasionally be the cause of migraine headaches and auriculotemporal neuralgia. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the anatomy of the superficial temporal branch, which has never been described in detail.

METHODS: A total of 14 sides of cadaveric heads were used for this study. The number of superficial temporal branch was counted, and the horizontal and vertical distances from the middle of the tragus to the branching point were measured.

RESULTS: Three of 14 sides had two main trunks, and 11 sides had one main trunk. Each of the duplicated ATN had already branches into two main trunks as they left the retromandibular space. The number of superficial temporal branches ranged from two to seven. The vertical and horizontal distances from the middle of the tragus to the branching point of the superficial temporal branch ranged from 6.19 to 25.65 mm and from 3.45 to 11.88 mm, respectively. The communicating branches occasionally formed a loop or so-called "ansa," and a double ansa was identified in one case.

CONCLUSIONS: These data can provide surgeons a better view of the course of these distant branches, so that skin incisions can be better planned.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)