Cranial Nerves II-XII or 2-12

by Rachel on October 27, 2010

Have you ever taken a look at what nerves the cranial nerves 2 through 12 actually represent and what their function is?  I did today and decided to share with you.

For cranial nerve designations, use Arabic or Roman numerals.  Be consistent.  The facility I transcribe for has us use II-XII.  Follow whatever your facility requests you use.

Here are the cranial nerves by number and their English name and definition:

Cranial nerve 1 or I – olfactory (smell).
Cranial nerve 2 or II – optic (vision).
Cranial nerve 3 or III – oculomotor (eyeball and eyelid movement).
Cranial nerve 4 or IV – trochlear (turns eye downward and laterally).
Cranial nerve 5 or V – trigeminal (chewing, face and mouth touch and pain).
Cranial nerve 6 or VI – abducens (turns eye laterally).
Cranial nerve 7 or VII – facial (facial expressions, secretion of tears and saliva, taste).
Cranial nerve 8 or VIII – vestibulocochlear (balance and hearing).
Cranial nerve 9 or IX – glossopharyngeal (taste, sensing of carotid artery pressure).
Cranial nerve 10 or X – vagus (sensing of aortic blood pressure, stimulate digestion).
Cranial nerve 11 or XI – spinal accessory (trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and swallowing control).
Cranial nerve 12 or XII – hypoglossal (tongue movements).

I had to refresh my memory today and ask someone why the 1st cranial nerve was not included.  The 1st cranial nerve is not included in this because it is purely sensory, not motor, and because it traditionally cannot be tested to see if it is functioning or not on a regular physical examination.  Cranial nerves 2 through 12, however, are motor or motor/sensory, so there is a way for them to be tested and verified by an examiner.

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