Hypoglossal Canal Location, Function, Cyst, Radiology

In the occipital bone, there is a small opening called the hypoglossal canal. Deep within the occipital condyles, the foramen magnum contains 2 hypoglossal canals, one on each side of the foramen. These canals are called the left and right hypoglossal canals. The canals have a somewhat oblique orientation, extending superoanteriorly. 

The hypoglossal canal in mammals is responsible for carrying the nerve that controls the tongue's muscles. Both the actual and comparative sizes of this canal are bigger in humans than they are in African apes. The size of the canals in fossil hominids may provide an indicator of the motor coordination of the tongue and indicate the evolution of speech and language. The human tongue is supplied with a more abundant canal of motor neurons than those of living apes.

Hypoglossal Canal Location

The hypoglossal nerve is able to leave the posterior cranial fossa through a passageway called the hypoglossal canal, which can be found between the occipital condyle and the jugular tubercle. This passageway runs obliquely forward (posteromedial to anterolateral). The two roots of the hypoglossal nerve are usually separated from one another in their proximal section by a fibrous septum. A single nerve appears after the fusion of these roots within the canal.

Hypoglossal Canal Location, Function, Cyst, Radiology

Hypoglossal Canal Function

In mammals, the hypoglossal canal is developed during embryonic stages. The main function of the hypoglossal canal is the supply of the hypoglossal nerve from its origin near the medulla oblongata to its exit point near the jugular foramen at the base of the skull.

The examination of the hypoglossal canal is helpful in the diagnosis of a number of different malignancies that can be detected at the base of the skull. These include big glomus jugulare neoplasms, myelomas, and even meningiomas on occasion. The main goal of research on the hypoglossal canal is to find safe ways to drill into that part of the brain so that surgery can be done there.

In recent years, researchers have focused their attention on the hypoglossal canal in an effort to date the origin of human speech. Researchers have discovered that hominids that lived 2 million years ago had the same size canal as current chimps, leaving some scientists to conclude that they were unable to speak.

Hypoglossal Canal Cyst

Hypoglossal canal cysts are uncommon benign tumors that often manifest in the sixth decade of life. These cysts, which are normally asymptomatic, are believed to develop from the canal's epithelial lining. Large cysts, on the other hand, can compress nearby structures and result in dysphagia, slurred speech, or cranial nerve palsies. Any mass lesion that is located in the posterior region of the neck should be evaluated for the possibility of being a cyst of the hypoglossal canal. The preferred imaging method for assessing these lesions is magnetic resonance imaging. Surgery is frequently used as a kind of treatment for people who are symptomatic.

Hypoglossal Canal Radiology

A diagnostic approach used to evaluate the structures inside the hypoglossal canal is MRI scanning. The hypoglossal canal is a tiny bony canal that contains a number of significant anatomical structures, such as the hypoglossal nerve. Any damage to this nerve, which regulates the muscles of the tongue, may cause issues with speech and swallowing. Using an MRI to evaluate the structures inside the hypoglossal canal and search for any anomalies is an efficient method. MRI scanning of the hypoglossal canal is a risk-free and efficient method of evaluating the anatomical structures located inside this crucial region of the body.

Hypoglossal Canal Location, Function, Cyst, Radiology Hypoglossal Canal Location, Function, Cyst, Radiology Reviewed by Simon Albert on November 10, 2022 Rating: 5
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