Electrophysiology of Cranial Nerve Testing: Trigeminal and Facial Nerves
The clinical examination of the trigeminal and facial nerves provides significant diagnostic value, especially in the localization of lesions in disorders affecting the central and/or peripheral nervous system. The electrodiagnostic evaluation of these nerves and their pathways adds further accuracy and reliability to the diagnostic investigation and the localization process, especially when different testing methods are combined based on the clinical presentation and the electrophysiological findings. The diagnostic uniqueness of the trigeminal and facial nerves is their connectivity and their coparticipation in reflexes commonly used in clinical practice, namely the blink and corneal reflexes. The other reflexes used in the diagnostic process and lesion localization are very nerve specific and add more diagnostic yield to the workup of certain disorders of the nervous system. This article provides a review of commonly used electrodiagnostic studies and techniques in the evaluation and lesion localization of cranial nerves V and VII.