Anatomy facts

parotid gland anatomy ct

Parotid and Salivary Gland Cancer

The parotid gland receives both sensory and autonomic innervation. General Sensory innervation to the parotid gland, its sheath, and the overlying skin is provided by the great auricular nerve. The autonomic innervation controls the rate of saliva production and is supplied by the glossopharyngeal nerve.
Postganglionic sympathetic fibers from superior cervical sympathetic ganglion reach the gland as periarterial nerve plexuses around the middle meningeal artery and their function is mainly vasoconstriction. The cell bodies of the preganglionic sympathetics usually lie in the lateral horns of upper thoracic spinal segments. Preganglionic parasympathetic fibers leave the brain stem from inferior salivatory nucleus in the glossopharyngeal nerve and then through its tympanic and then the lesser petrosal branch pass into the otic ganglion. There, they synapse with postganglionic fibers which reach the gland by hitch-hiking via the auriculotemporal nerve, a branch of the mandibular nerve. :255

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