Variations in the anatomy of the inferior alveolar nerve were seen in 2 of the 20 dissections of the infratemporal fossa in 10 cadavers. A connecting nerve branch that originated from the auriculotemporal nerve joined the inferior alveolar nerve on both sides. The second part of the maxillary artery passed between the mandibular nerve, the root of the inferior alveolar nerve, and the connecting nerve branch which formed a loop. The maxillary artery seemed to be entrapped. Neurovascular entrapment can cause pain and numbness. Anatomical variations in this region should be kept in mind, particularly in cases of failed treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. (C) 2003 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.