Great auricular nerve

The great auricular nerve (or greater auricular nerve) originates from the cervical plexus, composed of branches of spinal nerves C2 and C3. It provides sensory innervation for the skin over parotid gland and mastoid process, and both surfaces of the outer ear.

Great auricular nerve
The nerves of the scalp, face, and side of neck. (Great auricular visible below ear.)
Plan of the cervical plexus. (Great auricular labeled at top center.)
FromCervical plexus (C2-C3)
InnervatesCutaneous innervation of the inferior part of the auricle and the parotid region of the face.
Latinnervus auricularis magnus
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy


It is the largest of the ascending branches of the cervical plexus. It arises from the second and third cervical nerves, winds around the posterior border of the sternocleidomastoideus, and, after perforating the deep fascia, ascends upon that muscle beneath the platysma to the parotid gland, where it divides into an anterior and a posterior branch.


Additional images


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 926 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

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