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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2012, Article ID 418650, 7 pages
Research Article

Dissection and Exposure of the Whole Course of Deep Nerves in Human Head Specimens after Decalcification

Discipline of Anatomy and Histology, University of Sydney, Anderson Stuart Building F13, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Received 29 July 2011; Revised 10 November 2011; Accepted 12 December 2011

Academic Editor: R. L. Doty

Copyright © 2012 Longping Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The whole course of the chorda tympani nerve, nerve of pterygoid canal, and facial nerves and their relationships with surrounding structures are complex. After reviewing the literature, it was found that details of the whole course of these deep nerves are rarely reported and specimens displaying these nerves are rarely seen in the dissecting room, anatomical museum, or atlases. Dissections were performed on 16 decalcified human head specimens, exposing the chorda tympani and the nerve connection between the geniculate and pterygopalatine ganglia. Measurements of nerve lengths, branching distances, and ganglia size were taken. The chorda tympani is a very fine nerve (0.44 mm in diameter within the tympanic cavity) and approximately 54 mm in length. The mean length of the facial nerve from opening of internal acoustic meatus to stylomastoid foramen was 52.5 mm. The mean length of the greater petrosal nerve was 26.1 mm and nerve of the pterygoid canal was 15.1 mm.