Course of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve
The recurrent laryngeal nerve
) is a branch of the vagus nerve
X) that supplies all the intrinsic muscles
of the larynx
, with the exception of the cricothyroid muscles
. There are two recurrent laryngeal nerves, right and left, in the human body. The right and left nerves are not symmetrical, with the left nerve looping under the aortic arch, and the right nerve looping under the right subclavian artery
then traveling upwards. They both travel alongside of the trachea. Additionally, the nerves are one of few nerves that follow a recurrent
course, moving in the opposite direction to the nerve they branch from, a fact from which they gain their name.
The recurrent laryngeal nerves supply sensation to the larynx below the vocal cords, gives cardiac branches to the deep cardiac plexus, and branches to the trachea, esophagus and the inferior constrictor muscles. The posterior cricoarytenoid muscles
, the only muscles that can open the vocal cords, are innervated by this nerve. Read more...