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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.145 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN 印刷: 1050-6934
ISSN オンライン: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.2020033230
pages 197-203

Hypoglossal Nerve: Anatomy, Anatomical Variations Comorbidities and Clinical Significance

Arezina Manoli
Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Katherine Ploumidou
Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Metaxa Anticancer Hospital, Piraeus, Greece
Nikolaos Georgopapadakos
Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Paschalis Stratzias
Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Panagiotis N. Skandalakis
Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Stavros Angelis
2nd Orthopaedic Department, General Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece; Orthopaedic and Trauma Department, Hellenic Red Cross Hospital, Athens, Greece; Anatomy Department, Medical School, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
Alexandros P. Apostolopoulos
Trauma and Orthopaedic Department, "Korgialenio-Benakio" Hellenic Red Cross Hospital, Athens, Greece; Trauma and Orthopaedic Department, Ealing Hospital, North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom
Dimitrios K. Filippou
Department of Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece


We review the anatomical variations of the hypoglossal nerve and their surgical and clinical significance, and we report multiple diseases that affect function of the nerve leading to paresis, either unilateral or bilateral. The hypoglossal nerve is the 12th cranial nerve, and knowledge of the detailed anatomy and relationship with critical structures is of paramount importance in neurosurgery, head and neck surgery, and vascular surgery. Numerous studies have depicted conventional landmarks in the cervical part of the hypoglossal nerve, but their findings have not been consistent reliable. We analyze and review these critical landmarks used to identify and preserve the hypoglossal nerve during surgery and to minimize iatrogenic complications in head and neck, neurosurgical, and vascular procedures. We performed an online database search during January and February 2019 to pinpoint the diseases that affect function of the nerve. According to this literature review, apart from iatrogenic injury during surgery, the most frequently observed cause of paresis is pressure due to the presence of tumours and head injury. Furthermore, motor neuron degenerative conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis or tooth infection and presence of an aberrant vessel in the hypoglossal canal can affect the function of the nerve.


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