Infraorbital nerve

Last revised by Dr Yuranga Weerakkody on 11 Sep 2022

The infraorbital nerve is a branch of the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve.  

The infraorbital nerve divides off the maxillary division just after emerging from the foramen rotundum to enter the pterygopalatine fossa. It courses laterally over the palatine bone and maxilla to enter the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure. It then runs anteriorly in the inferior aspect of the extraconal space within the infraorbital groove. Within the groove, it gives off sensory branches to the maxillary sinus and teeth

It then enters the infraorbital canal within the floor of the orbit anteriorly, before emerging in the face through the infraorbital foramen lying between levator labii superioris and levator anguli oris muscles.

Three groups of branches arise from the nerve once it emerges from the infraorbital foramen:

  • palpebral branches
  • nasal branches
  • superior labial branches

These branches supply the skin of the medial cheek, lateral nose and upper lip, the mucosa of the anteroinferior nasal septum and oral mucosa of upper lip.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: orbital apex diagram
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  • Figure 2: V2 branches
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  • Figure 3: maxillary and mandibular divisions of the trigeminal nerve (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 4: trigeminal nerve cutaneous distribution (Gray's anatomy)
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