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Head and Neck Anatomy: Part III – Cranial Nerves

Course Number: 598

Cranial Nerves

Figure 6. Cranial Nerves

Figure 6 - Cranial Nerves

We finally turn of attention to the items in the title of this course. Knowing the background will make learning what follows easier as it will make more sense to you. We will take each nerve separately, explain its function and trace the course of the nerve and its main branches.

Each cranial nerve is numbered with a Roman numeral but also has a name and in the case of a couple of them, more than one name. If you look at the base of the brain (Figure 6) the nerves are numbered by their connection point to the brain with I being the furthest anterior in the cerebrum and XII being the one closest to where the spinal cord originates from the brain stem. The names generally refer to the function of the nerve as you will see. Students often use a pneumonic as a guide to which name goes with which Roman numeral. These are easily found on the internet, or you can make your own. The key is to find one you will have little trouble remembering.