The lower cranial nerves receive their arterial supply from an intricate network of tributaries derived from the external carotid, internal carotid, and vertebrobasilar territories. A contemporary, comprehensive literature review of the vascular supply of the lower cranial nerves was performed. The vascular supply to the trigeminal, facial, vestibulocochlear, glossopharyngeal, vagus, spinal accessory, and hypoglossal nerves are illustrated with a special emphasis on clinical issues. Frequently the external carotid, internal carotid, and vertebrobasilar territories all contribute to the vascular supply of an individual cranial nerve along its course. Understanding of the vasculature of the lower cranial nerves is of great relevance for skull base surgery. Clin. Anat. 27:108-117, 2014.
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