Deep Origin

The dorsal part of the tegmentum of the pons, near the middle line.

Superficial Origin

The nerve emerges from beneath the lower border of the pons just above the lateral side of the pyramid of the medulla.


From its superficial origin the nerve is directed forwards, and pierces the dura mater near the lateral border of the dorsum sellae. It next passes in the medial wall of the cavernous sinus, lying laterally to the internal carotid artery. It afterwards enters the orbit through the sphenoidal (superior orbital) fissure between the two heads of the lateral rectus, and supplies that muscle on its deep surface.


The sixth nerve communicates with (a) the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal, and (b) the carotid sympathethic plexus.