Greater petrosal nerve

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Template:Infobox Nerve Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

The greater petrosal nerve is a nerve in the skull that branches from the facial nerve; it forms part of a chain of nerves that innervates the lacrimal gland. The fibres have synapses in the pterygopalatine ganglion.


The greater petrosal nerve is a branch of the facial nerve that arises from the geniculate ganglion, a part of the facial nerve inside the facial canal. It enters the middle cranial fossa through the hiatus for the greater petrosal nerve (on the anterior surface of the petrous temporal bone). It proceeds towards the foramen lacerum, where it joins the deep petrosal nerve (sympathetic) to form the nerve of the pterygoid canal. The nerve of the pterygoid canal passes through the pterygoid canal to reach the pterygopalatine ganglion.


The greater petrosal nerve carries gustatory (taste) and parasympathetic fibres. Postganglionic parasympathetic fibres from pterygopalatine ganglion supply lacrimal gland and the mucosal glands of the nose, palate, and pharynx. The gustatory fibres do not relay in the ganglion and are distributed to the palate.

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