Imaging of the upper cranial nerves I, III-VIII, and the cavernous sinuses

Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2004 Nov;14(4):579-93. doi: 10.1016/j.nic.2004.07.002.


This article discusses the upper cranial nerves (I, III-VIII) and their anatomy as it pertains to intra-axial nuclei and tracts, cisternal portions, and extracranial portions. In addition, the most common pathologic processes affecting the upper cranial nerves are discussed and illustrated. Because the evaluation of small structures requires imaging techniques that provide high resolution and contrast, MR imaging is the examination of choice. CT still plays a limited but important role in the evaluation of intraosseous portions of some cranial nerves.