The Great Auricular Nerve (n. auricularis magnus) is the largest of the ascending branches. It arises from the second and third cervical nerves, winds around the posterior border of the Sternocleidomastoideus, and, after perforating the deep fascia, ascends upon that muscle beneath the Platysma to the parotid gland, where it divides into an anterior and a posterior branch.
- The anterior branch (ramus anterior; facial branch) is distributed to the skin of the face over the parotid gland, and communicates in the substance of the gland with the facial nerve.
This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).
- The posterior branch (ramus posterior; mastoid branch) supplies the skin over the mastoid process and on the back of the auricula, except at its upper part; a filament pierces the auricula to reach its lateral surface, where it is distributed to the lobule and lower part of the concha. The posterior branch communicates with the smaller occipital, the auricular branch of the vagus, and the posterior auricular branch of the facial.