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Lower cranial nerve syndromes: a review

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review encompassing the syndromes associated with the lower cranial

nerves (LCNs). We will discuss the anatomy of some of these syndromes and the historical contributors after whom they were

named. The LCNs can be affected individually or in combination, since the cranial nerves at this level share their courses through

the jugular foramen and hypoglossal canal and the extracranial spaces. Numerous alterations affecting them have been described

in the literature, but much remains to be discovered on this topic. This paper will highlight some of the subtle differences among

these syndromes. Symptoms and signs that have localization value for LCN lesions include impaired speech, deglutition, sensory

functions, alterations in taste, autonomic dysfunction, neuralgic pain, dysphagia, head or neck pain, cardiac or gastrointestinal

compromise, and weakness of the tongue, trapezius, or sternocleidomastoid muscles. To assess the manifestations of LCN

lesions correctly, precise knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the area is required. Treatments currently used for these

conditions will also be addressed here. Effective treatments are available in several such cases, but a precondition for complete

recovery is a correct and swift diagnosis.


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