A study of variations in the branching pattern of facial nerve in the face

Karey Venkata Naga Geetha Devi, Sarada Toleti


Background: Purpose of current study was to describe the variations in the complex network of terminal branches of facial nerve in the face. The facial nerve passes through the substance of parotid gland in the plane between superficial and deep lobes. The knowledge of variation in the branching pattern of terminal branches is very important for surgeons to prevent the injuries which may lead to facial palsy.

Methods: The present study includes fifty foetal parotid glands in 25 foetuses and 8 adult parotid glands of 4 cadavers. The glands exposed in fixed fetuses and adult cadavers, capsules removed. The superficial lobe of the gland reflected laterally and the trunk of facial nerve in the substance was observed. The divisions and terminal branches were traced. The variations in the divisions and terminal branches, loops between branches were observed and noted.

Results: In the foetal specimens the facial nerve divides into 2 main divisions in 88% of glands. The remaining 12% foetal specimens the facial nerve divides directly into 5 terminal branches. 56% foetal specimens show straight branching pattern, 12%specimens show looping between zygomatic and buccal branch. In 32% specimens the loop between upper buccal and lower buccal branches present. Multiple communications or complex pattern between two main divisions not found in this study.

Conclusion: The variations noted are: In the foetal specimens the facial nerve divides into two main divisions in 88% and in all adult specimens. In 12% of foetal specimens direct five terminal branches are given.



Facial nerve, Parotid gland, Temparofacial division, Cervicofacial division, Terminal branches

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