Anatomy of the abducens nerve

Emmanuel A. Baidoo, R. Shane Tubbs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


The abducens nerve, the sixth cranial nerve, is a paired nerve containing general somatic efferent fibers that innervate the lateral rectus muscle. It originates in the pons, exits the brainstem at the pontomedullary sulcus and via a relatively long intracranial course to the eye where it supplies the ipsilateral lateral rectus muscle for abduction of the eye. Though abducens is a relatively small nerve, it is crucial in assessing the state of health of the brain due to its relatively common demise in a myriad of brain pathologies. The abducens nerve is particularly vulnerable to changes in intracranial pressure. Whereas elevated intracranial pressure may lead to compression of feeding vessels resulting in an ischemic abducens nerve palsy, decreased intracranial pressure poses a risk of a mechanical abducens nerve palsy due to resultant traction of the nerve.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNerves and Nerve Injuries
Subtitle of host publicationVol 1: History, Embryology, Anatomy, Imaging, and Diagnostics
EditorsR. Shane Tubbs, Elias Rizk, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Marios Loukas, Nicholas Barbaro, Robert J. Spinner
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780124104471, 9780124103900
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2015


  • Brain stem
  • Cranial nerve
  • Dorsal meningeal artery
  • Pontomedullary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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