Master CN XII Lesion (Hypoglossal Nerve) with Picmonic for Medicine

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CN XII Lesion (Hypoglossal Nerve)

Brainstem with medusa head

Hypoglossal nucleus is located in the medial part of the medulla, the nerve itself also runs in the medial part of the medulla before it leaves the brainstem, hence lesions affecting this region (eg, medial medullary syndrome, tumors) can result in compromised function of this nerve.

Tongue Deviated Toward Lesion
Tongue deviated towards leeches

Compromised function of hypoglossal nerve results in ipsilateral tongue deviation, which happens due to the unopposed action of the contralateral genioglossus muscle.


Complete or partial paralysis of the tongue is one of the complications of hypoglossal nerve injury.


A fasciculation is defined as small, local, involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation. Fasciculations of the tongue can be a manifestation of hypoglossal nerve injury.


Atrophy of the tongue can be a manifestation of hypoglossal nerve injury.

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