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Semin Plast Surg. 2004 February; 18(1): 5–12.
PMCID: PMC2884691
Facial Paralysis
Guest Editor Susan E. Mackinnon M.D.

A Review of Facial Nerve Anatomy

Terence M. Myckatyn, M.D.1 and Susan E. Mackinnon, M.D., F.R.C.S., Guest Editor1


An intimate knowledge of facial nerve anatomy is critical to avoid its inadvertent injury during rhytidectomy, parotidectomy, maxillofacial fracture reduction, and almost any surgery of the head and neck. Injury to the frontal and marginal mandibular branches of the facial nerve in particular can lead to obvious clinical deficits, and areas where these nerves are particularly susceptible to injury have been designated danger zones by previous authors. Assessment of facial nerve function is not limited to its extratemporal anatomy, however, as many clinical deficits originate within its intratemporal and intracranial components. Similarly, the facial nerve cannot be considered an exclusively motor nerve given its contributions to taste, auricular sensation, sympathetic input to the middle meningeal artery, and parasympathetic innervation to the lacrimal, submandibular, and sublingual glands. The constellation of deficits resulting from facial nerve injury is correlated with its complex anatomy to help establish the level of injury, predict recovery, and guide surgical management.

Keywords: Extratemporal, intratemporal, facial nerve, frontal nerve, marginal mandibular nerve

Articles from Seminars in Plastic Surgery are provided here courtesy of Thieme Medical Publishers