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What is the Facial Nerve ?


What is the Facial Nerve ?

The facial nerve then enters the parotid gland, and branches into five divisions (see above). The facial nerve has five main branches, although the anatomy can vary somewhat between individuals. The branches are, from top to bottom: frontal (or temporal), zygomatic, buccal, marginal mandibular, and cervical.  Each of these branches provides input to a group of muscles of facial expression.

The following is a rough guide to the areas each branch innervates.  Note that there is some “cross-talk,” or overlap of the circuitry, between branches.

Frontal (temporal):  The muscles of the forehead

Zygomatic:  The muscles involved in forceful eye closure

Buccal:  The muscles involved in moving the nostril, upper lip, spontaneous eye blinking, and raising the corner of the mouth to smile.

Marginal mandibular branch:  The muscles involved in depressing the lower lip

Cervical:  lower chin muscle (platysma), often tensed during facial hair shaving.  It also lowers the corner of the mouth

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