Retro-orbital pain and TMD (TMJ) explained anatomically in this article.

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Posted: April 4, 2017
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A mechanism for retro-orbital pain and TMD is presented in this anatomical dissection of the the temporal branch of the zygomatic nerve passing through an accessory canal in the sphenozygomatic suture. This anatomical placement of the nerve would allow temporal muscle tension to cause nerve irritation and retro-orbital pain. Utilization of a diagnostic neuromuscular orthotic could differentiate retro-orbital pain that is best treated by neuromuscular dentistry.

Surg Radiol Anat. 2002 May;24(2):113-6. Nervous branch passing through an accessory canal in the sphenozygomatic suture: the temporal branch of the zygomatic nerve. Akita K, Shimokawa T, Tsunoda A, Sato T.

Unit of Functional Anatomy, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan. A nervous branch which passes through a small canal in the sphenozygomatic suture is sometimes observed during dissection. To examine the origin, course and distribution of this nervous branch, 42 head halves of 21 Japanese cadavers (11 males, 10 females) and 142 head halves of 71 human dry skulls were used. The branch was observed in seven sides (16.7%); it originated from the communication between the lacrimal nerve and the zygomaticotemporal branch of the zygomatic nerve or from the trunk of the zygomatic nerve. In two head halves (4.8%), the branch pierced the anterior part of the temporalis muscle during its course to the skin of the anterior part of the temple. The small canal in the suture was observed in 31 head halves (21.8%) of the dry skulls. Although this nervous branch is inconstantly observed, it should be called the temporal branch of the zygomatic nerve according to the constant positional relationship to the sphenoid and zygomatic bones. According to its origin, course and distribution, this nervous branch may be considered to be influential in zygomatic and retro-orbital pain due to entrapment and tension from the temporalis muscle and/or the narrow bony canal. The French version of this article is available in the form of electronic supplementary material and can be obtained by using the Springer LINK server located at

PMID: 12197019 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]