Deep temporal nerves

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 18 Oct 2017

The deep temporal nerves are a pair of motor branches of the anterior division of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve. It should not be confused with the temporal branch of the facial nerve.

Gross anatomy

The two deep temporal nerves divide off the anterior division and course above the superior border of the lateral pterygoid muscle. They ascend to enter the temporal fossa deep to the temporalis muscle running over the squamous temporal bone and greater wing of the sphenoid bone. The anterior and posterior nerves enter the deep surface of the temporalis muscle and supply it.

Variant anatomy

Occasionally there are 3 deep temporal nerves, with the anterior and posterior nerves separated by a third nerve, not unexpectedly called the middle deep temporal nerve. It passes with the buccal nerve between the two heads of the lateral pterygoid muscle and innervates the temporalis muscle.

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