The auriculotemporal nerve originates from the posterior part of the mandibular nerve, which travels parallel to the superficial temporal vein and artery. It innervates several parts on the sides of the head. The two roots of this nerve envelope the medial meningeal artery, and finally converge into a single nerve. This nerve goes medially to the mandible's neck and turns superiorly to its head after giving off parotid branches. From there it gives off the auricle's anterior branches and goes across the root of the temporal bone. This nerve consists of somatosensory fibers which rise up to the superficial temporal area. It supplies the external acoustic meatus, auricle, external part of the tympanic membrane, and the temporal skin. Several articular branches are also carried with the nerve, which give supply to the temporomandibular joints. The auriculotemporal nerve is the primary nerve to supply the TMJ together with the masseteric nerve branches and the deep temporal. Sometimes this nerve may suffer injury during TMJ surgery, which may cause parasthesia of the auricle and the ear region.
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In Depth: Auriculotemporal nerve