The Recurrent Nerve (n. recurrens; inferior or recurrent laryngeal nerve) arises, on the right side, in front of the subclavian artery; winds from before backward around that vessel, and ascends obliquely to the side of the trachea behind the common carotid artery, and either in front of or behind the inferior thyroid artery.
On the left side, it arises on the left of the arch of the aorta, and winds below the aorta at the point where the ligamentum arteriosum is attached, and then ascends to the side of the trachea.
The nerve on the right side ascends in the groove between the trachea and esophagus, passes under the lower border of the Constrictor pharyngis inferior, and enters the larynx behind the articulation of the inferior cornu of the thyroid cartilage with the cricoid; it is distributed to all the muscles of the larynx, excepting the Cricothyreoideus.
It communicates with the internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve, and gives off a few filaments to the mucous membrane of the lower part of the larynx.
As the recurrent nerve hooks around the subclavian artery or aorta, it gives off several cardiac filaments to the deep part of the cardiac plexus. As it ascends in the neck it gives off branches, more numerous on the left than on the right side, to the mucous membrane and muscular coat of the esophagus; branches to the mucous membrane and muscular fibers of the trachea; and some pharyngeal filaments to the Constrictor pharyngis inferior.