Consider yourself zapped! You are now a small molecule and are going to take a ride down the track of the famed cranial nerve X. Bet on it being important.

CN X is the head honcho of the cranial nerves and it works it’s butt off to keep you alive.

Your trip begins in the Waterboy’s favorite area of the brain, the medulla oblongata. Ride the nerve until it exits the skull through the jugular foramen. You will then come up on two humps, which are the sensory ganglia. The first ganglia sends fibers to the meningeal branch that goes to the dura in the back of the skull, and also to the auricular branch which (you guessed it!) is responsible for external auditory stuff. Because the vagus nerve is friendly, it communicates with the facial and glossopharyngeal nerves.

The second ganglia sends signals in 4 different ways (pharyngeal branch, superior laryngeal branch, recurrent laryngeal branch and the superior cardiac nerve). As far as rehab testable material is concerned, you should know that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is commonly injured during neck surgery.

After the second ganglia, you will notice that CN X finds CN XI, in which the two are joined.

From there, your trip will take you into the carotid sheath and down into the thorax. Then, both right and left vagus nerves will meet up to join to form the esophageal plexus.

Take the twisting journey around and around the esophagus and you may feel the need to vomit! Why? Because the vagus nerve then visits every organ in the abdominal cavity just short of the left colonic flexure.

So there you go! The Vagus is no longer Las…

Emedicine: Vagus Nerve Anatomy