Semin Neurol 2009; 29(1): 053-065
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1124023
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Multiple Cranial Neuropathies

Craig G. Carroll1 , William W. Campbell2
  • 1Department of Neurology, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia
  • 2Department of Neurology, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 February 2009 (online)


Patients presenting with multiple cranial neuropathies are not uncommon in neurologic clinical practice. The evaluation of these patients can often be overwhelming due to the vast and complicated etiologies as well as the potential for devastating neurologic outcomes. Dysfunction of the cranial nerves can occur anywhere in their course from intrinsic brainstem dysfunction to their peripheral courses. The focus of this review will be on the extramedullary causes of multiple cranial neuropathies as discussion of the brainstem syndromes is more relevant when considering intrinsic disorders of the brainstem. The goals are to provide the reader with an overview of those extramedullary conditions that have a predilection for causing multiple cranial nerve palsies. In turn, this will serve to provide a practical and systematic approach to allow for a more targeted diagnostic evaluation of this, often cumbersome, presentation.


Craig G Carroll, D.O. 

Head, Department of Neurology, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

620 John Paul Jones Circle, Portsmouth, VA 23708