Spinal Accessory Nerve

  • Amgad S. Hanna


Although, the accessory nerve is the 11th cranial nerve, we will discuss here the spinal component due to its importance in nerve injuries and repair. The spinal accessory nerve arises from the upper cervical spinal cord (C1–C5), ascends between the dentate ligament and the posterior cervical rootlets, then through the foramen magnum joins the cranial part, and exits through the jugular foramen. It runs through or deep to the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. It courses subcutaneously in the posterior triangle of the neck from the posterior border of the SCM cranially to the anterior border of the trapezius muscle caudally. It supplies both the SCM and the trapezius muscles.


Cervical Spinal Cord Anterior Border Trapezius Muscle Posterior Border Accessory Nerve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

Video 12.1

(MP4 609235 kb)


  1. 1.
    Tubbs RS, Salter EG, Wellons JC III, Blount JP, Oakes WJ (2005) Superficial landmarks for the spinal accessory nerve within the posterior cervical triangle. J Neurosurg Spine 3:375–378CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amgad S. Hanna
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations