Notes on Accessory Nerve

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1. Special visceral efferent (cranial root): Control of soft palate, pharynx, larynx movement.

2. General somatic efferent (spinal root): Motory to sternomastoid, trapezius.


Two parts.

1. Cranial root (fibres given to and hitchhike with N. vagus). They supply the skeletal muscles of the pharynx and palate.

2. Spinal root (spinal accessory nerve).


Two motory.

1. Cranial root from the nucleus ambiguous.

2. Spinal root from the spinal nucleus (anterior horn cells in the superior 5 - 6 cervical segments of the spinal cord - C 6 to C 1). Filaments ascend through the foramen magnum. Joins the cranial nerve briefly and then exits via the jugular foramen.


1. Cranial root (N. ambiguous): motory to skeletal muscles in the pharynx and larynx. Exits brain from the lateral aspect of the medulla as 4 or 5 rootlets. Unite with spinal root at the jugular foramen.

2. Spinal part: Sternomastoid and trapezius.

Further Topics on Cranial Nerves:

1. Introduction to Cranial Nerves
2. Notes on Olfactory Nerve CN 1
3. Notes on Optic Nerve CN 2
4. Notes on Oculomotor Nerve CN 3
5. Notes on Trochlear Nerve CN 4
6. Notes on Trigeminal Nerve CN 5
7. Notes on Abducens Nerve CN 6
8. Notes on Facial Nerve CN 7
9. Notes on Vestibulocochlear Nerve CN 8
10. Notes on Glossopharyngeal Nerve CN 9
11. Notes on Vagus Nerve CN 10
12. Notes on Accessory Nerve CN 11
13. Notes on Hypoglossal Nerve CN 12
14. Summary of Cranial Nerve Nuclei
15. Summary of Cranial Nerve Functions

Additional Reading:

Basic Neurology

1. Peripheral Nervous System
2. Central Nervous System
3. The Ventricular System
4. The Spinal Cord
5. The Brain Stem
6. The Cerebellum
7. Visual Pathways
8. Diencephalon
9. Basal Ganglia
10. Cerebral Cortex
11. Sleep Disorders
12. Autonomic Nervous System
13. Cranial Nerves and Parasympathetic Ganglia
14. Cells of the Nervous System
15. Cerebrospinal fluid
16. Additional short notes on Cerebrum
17. Functions and Diseases of Cerebrum
18. Subcortical Grey Matter
19. Notes on The Spinal Cord
20. Regulation of Heart Rate by Autonomic Nervous System
21. Action Potentials, Axon Conduction, and Neuromuscular Junction
22. Types of Seizures
23. What is a Cough Reflex?
24. Notes on Congenital Prosopagnosia
25. Findings in Parkinson's Disease
26. Types of Heat Strokes
27. Types of Strokes
28. What is Benign Intracranial Hypertension?
29. What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
30. Cranial Nerve Locations in Brain Stem

Neurology Videos

1. Video of Neurology Examination in a Clinical Setting

Medical Images

Useful Medical Images & Diagrams (link opens in a new window)

Related Topics

1. Nervous System Disorders
2. Histology of Nervous Tissue
3. Cranial Nerve Reflexes
4. Motor System Examination

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