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Diagn Interv Imaging. 2013 Oct;94(10):1051-62. doi: 10.1016/j.diii.2013.06.013. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

The lower cranial nerves: IX, X, XI, XII.

Author information

1
Service d'imagerie médicale, American Hospital of Paris, 63, boulevard Victor-Hugo, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France; Service de neuroradiologie, CHU de Bicêtre, 78, rue du Général-Leclerc, 94270 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France. Electronic address: jlsarrazin@wanadoo.fr.

Abstract

The lower cranial nerves innervate the pharynx and larynx by the glossopharyngeal (CN IX) and vagus (CN X) (mixed) nerves, and provide motor innervation of the muscles of the neck by the accessory nerve (CN XI) and the tongue by the hypoglossal nerve (CN XII). The symptomatology provoked by an anomaly is often discrete and rarely in the forefront. As with all cranial nerves, the context and clinical examinations, in case of suspicion of impairment of the lower cranial nerves, are determinant in guiding the imaging. In fact, the impairment may be located in the brain stem, in the peribulbar cisterns, in the foramens or even in the deep spaces of the face. The clinical localization of the probable seat of the lesion helps in choosing the adapted protocol in MRI and eventually completes it with a CT-scan. In the bulb, the intra-axial pathology is dominated by brain ischemia (in particular, with Wallenberg syndrome) and multiple sclerosis. Cisternal pathology is tumoral with two tumors, schwannoma and meningioma. The occurrence is much lower than in the cochleovestibular nerves as well as the leptomeningeal nerves (infectious, inflammatory or tumoral). Finally, foramen pathology is tumoral with, outside of the usual schwannomas and meningiomas, paragangliomas. For radiologists, fairly hesitant to explore these lower cranial pairs, it is necessary to be familiar with (or relearn) the anatomy, master the exploratory technique and be aware of the diagnostic possibilities.

KEYWORDS:

Lower cranial pairs; MRI; Meningioma; Paraganglioma; Schwannoma

PMID:
23916571
DOI:
10.1016/j.diii.2013.06.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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