Surgical landmarks of the glossopharyngeal nerve

Seth Morrill, Vikas Mehta, Jonathan J. Wisco, Elizabeth Disbrow, Mitzi C. Glover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Damage to the glossopharyngeal nerve can oc-cur as a result of various Head and Neck surger-ies. Associated with this damage are assorted side effects, such as dysphagia, xerostomia, and loss of taste. This study serves to create probabilistic maps of the glossopharyngeal nerve using quanti-tative data, and to identify different landmarks in order to locate the nerve. Eleven cadaveric heads were bilaterally dissected to expose and measure the glossopharyngeal nerve. The mastoid process is a more reliable marker for the location of the glossopharyngeal nerve as it stretches through the lateral neck. Additionally, distance landmark meas-urements from the nerve leaving the jugular fora-men to it entering the pharyngeal space are of-fered. Furthermore, statistical probability equations for nerve location have been created. Measure-ments and models created by this study will aid in pre-operative identification of glossopharyngeal nerve landmarks that will lead to an increase in quality of life in Head and Neck surgery patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Anatomy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • CN IX
  • Glossopharyngeal nerve
  • Head and neck surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy


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