There are 12 pairs of nerves that originate from the lower surface of the brain and pass through openings in the skull, one of each pair on each side. These are the cranial nerves that control facial and throat motions including swallowing, speech, tear production, smell taste and vision. The cranial nerves are the only nerves that do not originate from the spine.
Injury to any of these cranial nerves can occur from a number of causes such as head trauma, fetal positioning or forceps pressure or a variety of surgical procedures. The different cranial nerves, when injured, produce different symptoms, many of which can be lifelong, effecting mental, physical, financial and social capacities.
The different cranial nerves and their related functions are:
- Facial Nerve – Damage to the facial nerve is the most common during surgery and can diminish taste sensation to half of the tongue and cause the inability of tear production. Paralysis of this nerve can be devastating both mentally and socially.
- Olfactory Nerve – The olfactory nerve controls the sense of smell and indirectly the sense of taste. Injury to this nerve can occur easily and leave the victim unable to smell and capable of tasting only the basics such as salt, sweet, bitter and sour.
- Optic Nerve – Damage to the optic nerve comes from damage to and loss of the protective sheath known as the myelin. This can be caused by blocked blood flow and toxic exposure. Symptoms may include blind spots and blurred vision
- Oculormotor Nerve – This is a somatic and visceral motor which when damaged completely, results in drooping of the upper eyelid, the inability for the pupil to constrict in brightness, and the inability to look upward.
- Trochlear Nerve – This is the longest of the cranial nerves within the skull. Damage to this somatic motor will cause the eye to rotate outwards.
- Trigeminal Nerve – This somatic sensory and motor nerve controls the movement of facial muscles in chewing as well as the sense of touch to the face.
- Abducens Nerve – A somatic motor that controls eye movement.
- Auditory Vestibular Nerve – A special sensory nerve affecting hearing and balance.
- Glossopharyngeal Nerve – A somatic and visceral motor nerve as well a special sensory nerve and visceral sensory nerve. This nerve affects movement of internal throat muscles, salivary gland control, taste of one third of the tongue, and aortic blood pressure changes.
- Vagus Nerve – A visceral motor controlling the heart, abdominal organs and lungs.
- Spinal Accessory – A somatic motor controlling neck and throat muscles
- Hypoglossal Nerve – A somatic motor that controlling tongue movement.
If you or a loved one has suffered cranial nerve damage due to an accident or medical procedure, you should contact an experienced brain injury attorney. An attorney who specializes in brain injury is aware of the lifetime costs of the injury financially, mentally, emotionally and physically. There are many factors involved in a cranial nerve damage case which can affect the amount of compensation you may receive. You may be awarded damages for medical costs, rehabilitation, loss of earnings, diminished quality of life, pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury firm with lawyers who are skilled in brain injury cases. They know the true cost of your injury over a lifetime and will fight to gain the maximum award in you cranial nerve injury case. Reach out to Dolman Law Group for a free consultation and evaluation of your case by calling us at (727) 853-6275. It is best not to wait as statutes of limitation apply.
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