Vestibulocochlear nerve

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

The vestibulocochlear nerve is the eighth cranial nerve and has two roles:

  • innervation to the cochlea for hearing
  • innervation to the vestibule for acceleration sense

Gross anatomy

It emerges between the pons and the medulla, lateral to the facial nerve and nervus intermedius, passing laterally through the cerebellopontine angle to the internal acoustic meatus (IAM) with the aforementioned two other nerves.

In the IAM the nerve splits into 4 bundles: cochlear nerve, superior and inferior division of the vestibular nerve and nerve from the posterior semicircular canal, separated from each other by the falciform crest and Bill's bar (see figure 2).

Cochlear nerve

The cochlear nerve relays with the first order sensory cells in the spiral ganglion, which is in the base of the spiral lamina.

Vestibular nerve

The vestibular nerve relays in the vestibular ganglion (aka ganglion of Scarpa), from there three bundles emerge:

  1. The superior division of the vestibular nerve carries sensory fibres from the hair cells of the anterior and lateral semicircular canals and utricle. It is located in the posterosuperior quadrant
  2. The inferior division carries sensory fibres from the saccule. It is located in the posteroinferior quadrant, along with
  3. The nerve from the posterior semicircular canal, also in the posteroinferior quadrant passes through the foramen singulare

Related pathology 

Neuroanatomy
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Article information

rID: 2272
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII)
  • Vestibulocochlear nerve (VIII)

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1 - brain stem nuclei
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    Case 1 - normal CN VII and VII (T2 MRI)
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Diagram of relat...
    Figure 2: position in IAM
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    Labelled
    Case 2: annotated CN VIII and others cranial nerves
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    Figure 3 - relationship to internal ear
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    Case 3: normal cranial nerves
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