Arnold's nerve

Dr Craig Hacking and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Arnold's nerve is the auricular branch, also known as the mastoid branch, of the vagus nerve (CN X).

Arnold's nerve originates from the superior ganglion of the vagus nerve and also has a small contribution from the inferior ganglion of the glossopharyngeal nerve. It ascends through the mastoid canaliculus (located lateral to the jugular fossa). 

Arnold's nerve innervates the small parts of the external acoustic meatus and is the source of glomus jugulotympanicum from the nonchromaffin paraganglion cells, which are found along the nerve.

It is also responsible for the referred otalgia through the vagus nerve (CN X), in the case of laryngeal pathology. 

Named after Friedrich Arnold, German anatomist (1803-1890) 1. Also known as the Alderman's nerve on the belief that stimulating the external auditory canal will stimulate gastric emptying; the Aldermen who ate too much for lunch would wriggle their fingers in the external canal to relieve their epigastric discomfort.

Anatomy: Brain
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Article information

rID: 930
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Auricular nerve
  • Auricular branch
  • Mastoid branch
  • Auricular branch of vagus nerve (CN X)
  • Mastoid branch of vagus nerve (CN X)
  • Arnold nerve

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: diagram showing Arnold's nerve
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