Article Abstract

An unusual finding of the auriculotemporal nerve: possible risk factor during preauricular skin incisions

Authors: Joe Iwanaga, Samuel L. Bobek, Christian Fisahn, Ken Nakamura, Yoshihiro Miyazono, R. Shane Tubbs


The auriculotemporal nerve (ATN) is a branch of the mandibular nerve and has been implicated for some migraines and its role in Frey’s syndrome is well known. An adult cadaver was found to have a duplicated ATN. The anterior trunk ascended as the superficial temporal artery and gave off the branches to the temporomandibular joint, parotid gland, external acoustic meatus and temporal region and communicated with a posterior trunk of the ATN. The posterior trunk ascended via the subcutaneous tissues 1 mm anterior to the auricle and gave off the branches to the anterior auricular region, temporal region and communicated with the anterior trunk. Such a duplicated ATN might be injured with preauricular skin incisions. Knowledge of such an anatomical variation might assist surgeons in iatrogenic injury of the ATN.