Semin Neurol 2009; 29(1): 045-052
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1124022
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Cranial Nerve XII: The Hypoglossal Nerve

Helen C. Lin1 , Paul E. Barkhaus1 , 2
  • 1Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 2Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 February 2009 (online)


The hypoglossal nerve provides motor innervation to the tongue, and may be affected by pathology at multiple locations along its pathway. Knowledge of its anatomy and careful examination of the tongue are important in the diagnosis of lesions and determination of appropriate testing. The hypoglossal nerve anatomy and physiology, clinical disorders, and the evaluation of the hypoglossal nerve are reviewed.


Helen C LinM.D. 

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin

9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226