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The zygomatic nerve divides off the maxillary division in the pterygopalatine fossa, just after it emerges from the foramen rotundum. It receives parasympathetic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion. Coursing superiorly, it enters the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure as the most lateral structure. It then runs anteriorly in the inferolateral aspect of the extraconal space before branching into two sensory branches, each which exits through similarly-named foramina of the zygomatic bone:
In the lateral orbit it contributes secretomotor parasympathetic fibers (which derive from the pterygopalatine ganglion via the zygomaticotemporal nerve or a small separate communicating branch) to the lacrimal nerve (a branch of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve), which in turn supplies the lacrimal gland.