The maxillary nerve (superior maxillary nerve), or second division of the trigeminal, is a sensory nerve.
It begins at the middle of the trigeminal ganglion as a flattened plexiform band, and, passing horizontally forward, it leaves the skull through the foramen rotundum, where it becomes more cylindrical in form, and firmer in texture.
It then crosses the pterygopalatine fossa, inclines lateralward on the back of the maxilla, and enters the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure; it traverses the infraorbital groove and canal in the floor of the orbit, and appears upon the face at the infraorbital foramen.
At its termination, the nerve lies beneath the quadratus labii superioris, and divides into a leash of branches which spread out upon the side of the nose, the lower eyelid, and the upper lip, joining with filaments of the facial nerve.
Its branches may be divided into four groups, according as they are given off in the cranium, in the pterygopalatine fossa, in the infraorbital canal, or on the face.
In the cranium
In the pterygopalatine fossa
- Zygomatic nerve (zygomaticotemporal nerve, zygomaticofacial nerve)
- Two small branches to the pterygopalatine ganglion (sometimes called the sphenopalatine ganglion)
- Posterior superior alveolar nerve