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Nerve: Maxillary nerve
Alveolar branches of superior maxillary nerve and pterygopalatine ganglion.
Latin n. maxillaris
Gray's subject #200 889
MeSH A08.800.800.120.760.550

The maxillary nerve (superior maxillary nerve), or second division of the trigeminal, is a sensory nerve.

It is intermediate, both in position and size, between the ophthalmic nerve and the mandibular nerve.


Anterior to the trigeminal ganglion, the maxillary nerve passes through the cavernous sinus and exits the skull through the foramen rotundum.

It begins at the middle of the trigeminal ganglion as a flattened plexiform band, and, passing horizontally forward, it leaves the skull through the foramen rotundum, where it becomes more cylindrical in form, and firmer in texture.

It then crosses the pterygopalatine fossa, inclines lateralward on the back of the maxilla, and enters the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure; it traverses the infraorbital groove and canal in the floor of the orbit, and appears upon the face at the infraorbital foramen.

At its termination, the nerve lies beneath the quadratus labii superioris, and divides into a leash of branches which spread out upon the side of the nose, the lower eyelid, and the upper lip, joining with filaments of the facial nerve.


Its branches may be divided into four groups, according as they are given off in the cranium, in the pterygopalatine fossa, in the infraorbital canal, or on the face.

In the cranium

In the pterygopalatine fossa

In the infraorbital canal

On the face

Additional images

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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