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Nerve: Lesser occipital nerve
Side of neck, showing chief surface markings. (Lesser occip. nerve labeled at center right.)
The nerves of the scalp, face, and side of neck. (Smaller occipital visible below and to the left of the ear.)
Latin nervus occipitalis minor
Gray's subject #210 926
MeSH [1]

The lesser occipital nerve or small occipital nerve is a spinal nerve arising between the first and second cervical vertebrae, along with the greater occipital nerve. It innervates the scalp in the lateral area of the head behind the ear.

It arises from the lateral branch of the ventral ramus of the second cervical nerve, sometimes also from the third; it curves around and ascends along the posterior border of the Sternocleidomastoideus.

Near the cranium it perforates the deep fascia, and is continued upward along the side of the head behind the auricula, supplying the skin and communicating with the greater occipital, the great auricular, and the posterior auricular branch of the facial.

The smaller occipital varies in size, and is sometimes duplicated.

It gives off an auricular branch, which supplies the skin of the upper and back part of the auricula, communicating with the mastoid branch of the great auricular.

This branch is occasionally derived from the greater occipital nerve.

Disorder in this nerve causes occipital neuralgia.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

de:Nervus occipitalis minor
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