New methods of dissecting the masticator space of the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta)

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The aim of our project was to develop a method to examine the deep masticator space of the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) in order to investigate the following particulars of the mandibular nerve: (1) its manner of entry into the masticator space, (2) its branching within spaces/canals in the spheno-temporal bony complex, and (3) the location of its principal divisions with reference to the lateral pterygoid plate and muscle heads. In order to access these structures it was necessary to develop novel lateral and medial approaches. These and the instruments used are described. The proximal branching of the mandibular nerve is described and contrasted with that of the human. The implications of nerve branching in humans with reference to (1) evolution, (2) electromyography and (3) anesthetic control are discussed.

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