Carefully remove the muscle fibers of both the superior and inferior heads of the lateral pterygoid muscle. As the lateral pterygoid muscle is removed, the trunk of the mandibular nerve (CN V3) will become visible (Figure 27.3).
Identify the chorda tympani nerve as it emerges from the petrotympanic fissure and passes anteriorly to join the lingual nerve (Figure 27.3). This nerve carries special sensory taste fibers from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and preganglionic parasympathetic fibers to the submandibular ganglion.
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