Semin Plast Surg 2004; 18(1): 5-11
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-823118
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA.

A Review of Facial Nerve Anatomy

Terence M. Myckatyn1 , Susan E. Mackinnon1
  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
20 April 2004 (online)

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.


Susan E Mackinnon, M.D. 

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