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Transverse cervical nerve

The transverse cervical nerve (Latin: nervus transversus colli), also called the superficial or cutaneous cervical nerve, is a sensory branch of the cervical plexus that arises from the anterior rami of the second and third cervical spinal nerves (C2 and C3). Some studies have shown cases of double or even multiple branches of the transverse cervical nerve that arise near the site, where it branches off the cervical plexus.

After its formation, the transverse cervical nerve curves around the posterior margin of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) and emerges on its lateral surface at punctum nervosum (Erb’s point) inferior to the great auricular nerve. It further runs horizontally across the SCM towards its anterior border. The transverse cervical nerve passes deep to the external jugular vein. When it reaches the anterior border of the SCM, the transverse cervical nerve pierces the deep cervical fascia and passes below the platysma, dividing into two terminal branches.

The transverse cervical nerve divides into ascending (superior) and descending (inferior) branches. These branches provide sensory innervation to the anterolateral side of the neck. Most of the ascending branches run upward to the submandibular region. Here they form a plexus together with the cervical branch of the facial nerve (CN VII). Some of the ascending branches pierce the platysma, become superficial and are distributed within the upper anterior part of the neck, where they innervate the overlying skin. The descending branches also pierce the platysma, become superficial and innervate the skin of the lower aspect of the anterolateral neck region, extending as far as the sternum.





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