Auriculo-temporal nerve. Clinicopathological relevance to facial-maxillary practice.
Anatomically, the auriculo-temporal nerve (ATN), a peripheral branch of the trigeminal nerve is in close relation to the parotid gland, neck of the mandible, temporal vessels, and sphenomandibular ligament. Fine branches of the ATN are at risk of division during surgical intervention of the parotid gland or condyle of the mandible. "Frey's syndrome", or abnormal gustatory sweating, may be a consequence of injury to the branches of the auriculo-temporal nerve. This uncommon syndrome can also occur with fractures of the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ), due to the anatomic proximity of the nerve to the bone.