Individual Specific Features and Variability of the Buccal Branches of the Facial Nerve
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Keywords

facial nerve
buccal branches
parotid duct
connections

Abstract

The purpose of our study was to review and evaluate the course, number, connections, individual specific features and relationship of the buccal branches of the facial nerve to the parotid duct.Materials and methodsTwenty adult cadaveric semiheads fixed in formaldehyde solution were dissected and anatomical specific features of the buccal branches of the facial nerve, their course, divisions and connections were marked out.ResultsIn 95% of cases the trunk of the facial nerve was divided into temporofacial branch (TFB) and cervicofacial branch (CFB). The number of buccal branches (BB) originating from the facial nerve varied from 2 to 6. In one case the TFB gave rise to a single BB, in 7 cases it gave rise to 2 BB, in other 7 cases there were 3 BB and in 5 cases there were 4 BB. The CFB gave rise to 1 BB in 11 cases and to 2 BB in 7 cases, and in 2 cases no buccal branches originated in the CFB. More than 2 BB originated from the CFB was never mentioned. Variations of location of the buccal branches related to the parotid duct were marked out. In 3 cases 1 BB was located above the parotid duct, and in 7 cases the buccal branch was found below it. In 10 cases 2 BB were located above the parotid duct, and in 11 cases the same number was found below it. In 6 cases 3 BB were located above the parotid duct, and in 1 case 3 BB were located below the duct. In a single case 4 BB were located above the parotid duct, and in one case the same number was below it. Connections of the buccal branches were variable from linear to loop-shaped, and plexiform.ConclusionsThe buccal branches of the facial nerve are variable in number, origin, course, connections, and relationship to the parotid duct. No more than two BB were marked out to originate from the CFB. The number of BB given off by the facial nerve varies from 2 to 6 branches.
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