Zygomaticotemporal nerve

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 24 Sep 2020

The zygomaticotemporal nerve is the larger of the two branches of the zygomatic nerve, from the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve. It is primarily sensory but also relays parasympathetic fibers to the lacrimal nerve from the pterygopalatine ganglion which reach the lacrimal gland. Along with lacrimal nerve it has a main role in lacrimation 4. It leaves the inferolateral aspect of the extraconal space of the orbit through the zygomaticotemporal foramen and enters the temporal fossa. It immediately pierces the temporalis fascia, and supplies the scalp of the anterior half of the temporal fossa above the zygomatic arch (the "skin of the hairless temple").

Related pathology

  • both auriculotemporal and zygomaticotemporal nerves contribute to migraine headache
  • zygomaticotemporal nerve entrapment has been reported in literature after zygomatic bone fracture, craniotomy and cosmetic surgeries in zygomatic arch region 5

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: trigeminal nerve cutaneous distribution (Gray's anatomy)
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