The Superior Laryngeal Nerve (n. laryngeus superior) larger than the pharyngeal branch, arises from the middle of the ganglion nodosum and in its course receives a branch from the superior cervical ganglion of the sympathetic. It descends, by the side of the pharynx, behind the internal carotid artery, and divides into two branches, external and internal.
The external branch (ramus externus), the smaller, descends on the larynx, beneath the Sternothyreoideus, to supply the Cricothyreoideus. It gives branches to the pharyngeal plexus and the Constrictor pharyngis inferior, and communicates with the superior cardiac nerve, behind the common carotid artery.
The internal branch (ramus internus) descends to the hyothyroid membrane, pierces it in company with the superior laryngeal artery, and is distributed to the mucous membrane of the larynx. Of these branches some are distributed to the epiglottis, the base of the tongue, and the epiglottic glands; others pass backward, in the aryepiglottic fold, to supply the mucous membrane surrounding the entrance of the larynx, and that lining the cavity of the larynx as low down as the vocal folds. A filament descends beneath the mucous membrane on the inner surface of the thyroid cartilage and joins the recurrent nerve.