The jugular foramen harbors anatomically complex bony, venous and neural structures. It is closely associated with small canals including the mastoid, tympanic, and cochlear canaliculi, and the stylomastoid foramen. The minute intraosseous branches of Arnold's and Jacobson's nerves (<1 mm in length) remain difficult to study with current imaging techniques, and cadaveric dissection is the most reliable approach. Our aim was to examine the variations of Jacobson's and Arnold's canaliculi and nerves and to provide detailed cadaveric graphics. To reveal the anatomical structures of small canals around the jugular foramen, 25 sides of dry skulls and 14 sides of cadaveric heads were examined. Intraosseous branches varied more in Arnold's nerve than Jacobson's nerve. In our cadaveric dissection, all specimens formed a single canal for Jacobson's nerve connecting the jugular foramen to the tympanic cavity. The intraosseous course of Arnold's nerve varied in its communication with the facial nerve. A descending branch crossing the facial nerve was identified in five of 14 sides, an ascending branch in 13. In two specimens, an ascending branch clearly reached the base of the stapedius muscle. Classical anatomical studies of cadavers remain a supplementary tool for analyzing these tiny structures. The present study confirms Gray's findings of 1913. Variations of these nerves could be even more complex than previously reported. Our study provides additional information regarding the anatomy of Jacobson's and Arnold's nerves.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2022|
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