Infraorbital nerve

The infraorbital nerve is a branch of the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve.  

Gross anatomy

The infraorbital nerve divides off the maxillary division just after emerging from the foramen rotundum to enter the pterygopalatine fossa. It courses laterally over the palatine bone and maxilla to enter the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure. It then runs anteriorly in the inferior aspect of the extraconal space within the infraorbital groove. Within the groove, it gives off sensory branches to the maxillary sinus and teeth: 

It then enters the infraorbital canal within the floor of the orbit anteriorly, before emerging in the face through the infraorbital foramen lying between levator labii superioris and levator anguli oris. There groups of branches arise from the nerve once it merges from the infra-orbital foramen:

  • palpebral branches
  • nasal branches
  • superior labial branches

These branches supply the skin of the medial cheek, lateral nose and upper lip, the mucosa of the anteroinferior nasal septum and oral mucosa of upper lip.

Related pathology

The nerve is a risk of injury with orbital blowout fractures.

This nerve is also commonly implicated in trigeminal neuralgia which is amenable to cryotherapy when refractory to medical therapy.

Anatomy: Head and neck
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Article information

rID: 30692
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • infra-orbital nerve

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: orbital apex diagram
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  • Figure 2: V2 branches
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