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Facial Muscles: Anatomy

The facial muscles (also called mimetic muscles) control facial expression and are supplied by the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions. Most of them originate from the skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy and attach to the skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions around the facial openings, which serve as a method to group or classify them. Also located within the face are the masticatory muscles, which move the temporomandibular joint, allowing for mastication Mastication The act and process of chewing and grinding food in the mouth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy and the initial stages of digestion Digestion Digestion refers to the process of the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food into smaller particles, which can then be absorbed and utilized by the body. Digestion and Absorption.

Last updated: 9 Mar, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Muscles of the Cranium

The muscles of the cranium Cranium The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy assist with actions of facial expression. These muscles receive nerve supply from the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions (cranial nerve (CN) VII).

Table: Muscles of the cranium Cranium The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Occipitofrontalis Frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy belly (frontalis): galea aponeurotica (epicranial aponeurosis) Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of the eyebrow Temporal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Lifts eyebrows, wrinkling the forehead Forehead The part of the face above the eyes. Melasma
Occipital Occipital Part of the back and base of the cranium that encloses the foramen magnum. Skull: Anatomy belly (occipitalis): superior nuchal line Galea aponeurotica Occipital Occipital Part of the back and base of the cranium that encloses the foramen magnum. Skull: Anatomy belly: posterior auricular nerve from facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Moves the scalp posteriorly
Temporoparietalis Aponeurosis above auriculares muscles Galea aponeurosis Temporal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Pulls the ears cranially and dorsally
Occipitofrontalis and temporoparietalis

Lateral view of the face featuring both bellies of the occipitofrontalis muscle and the temporoparietalis muscle

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Muscles of the Mouth

The muscles of the mouth assist with facial expression, chewing, and communication Communication The exchange or transmission of ideas, attitudes, or beliefs between individuals or groups. Decision-making Capacity and Legal Competence. These muscles are supplied by the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions (CN VII).

Orbicularis oris and buccinator

Table: Muscles of the mouth: orbicularis oris and buccinator
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Orbicularis oris Deep surface of the perioral skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions, angle of the mouth (modiolus) Mucous membrane Mucous membrane An epithelium with mucus-secreting cells, such as goblet cells. It forms the lining of many body cavities, such as the digestive tract, the respiratory tract, and the reproductive tract. Mucosa, rich in blood and lymph vessels, comprises an inner epithelium, a middle layer (lamina propria) of loose connective tissue, and an outer layer (muscularis mucosae) of smooth muscle cells that separates the mucosa from submucosa. Barrett’s Esophagus of the lips Lips The lips are the soft and movable most external parts of the oral cavity. The blood supply of the lips originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Closes mouth, purses lips Lips The lips are the soft and movable most external parts of the oral cavity. The blood supply of the lips originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy
Buccinator Alveolar processes of the maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy and mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy (at the 1st–2nd molars Molars The most posterior teeth on either side of the jaw, totaling eight in the deciduous dentition (2 on each side, upper and lower), and usually 12 in the permanent dentition (three on each side, upper and lower). They are grinding teeth, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces. Teeth: Anatomy) Angle of the mouth radiating into the orbicularis oris Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Pulls cheeks Cheeks The part of the face that is below the eye and to the side of the nose and mouth. Melasma inward against the molars Molars The most posterior teeth on either side of the jaw, totaling eight in the deciduous dentition (2 on each side, upper and lower), and usually 12 in the permanent dentition (three on each side, upper and lower). They are grinding teeth, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces. Teeth: Anatomy while chewing
  • Works with the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy to keep food between occlusal surfaces of the teeth Teeth Normally, an adult has 32 teeth: 16 maxillary and 16 mandibular. These teeth are divided into 4 quadrants with 8 teeth each. Each quadrant consists of 2 incisors (dentes incisivi), 1 canine (dens caninus), 2 premolars (dentes premolares), and 3 molars (dentes molares). Teeth are composed of enamel, dentin, and dental cement. Teeth: Anatomy and out of the oral vestibule Vestibule An oval, bony chamber of the inner ear, part of the bony labyrinth. It is continuous with bony cochlea anteriorly, and semicircular canals posteriorly. The vestibule contains two communicating sacs (utricle and saccule) of the balancing apparatus. The oval window on its lateral wall is occupied by the base of the stapes of the middle ear. Ear: Anatomy
  • Resist distention when blowing
Anterior view of the orbicularis oris muscle fibers

Anterior view of the orbicularis oris muscle fibers

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio
3d rendering of a lateral view of the buccinator and orbicularis oris

Lateral view of the buccinator and orbicularis oris muscles

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Upper group

Table: Muscles of the mouth: upper group
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Risorius Masseteric fascia Fascia Layers of connective tissue of variable thickness. The superficial fascia is found immediately below the skin; the deep fascia invests muscles, nerves, and other organs. Cellulitis Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of angle of the mouth Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Pulls angle of the mouth laterally
Zygomaticus major Lateral surface of the anterior aspect of the zygomatic bone Zygomatic bone Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of angle of the mouth, blending with levator anguli/orbicularis oris Zygomatic Zygomatic Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Skull: Anatomy and buccal branches of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Elevates sides of mouth to smile
  • Elevates unilateral side of mouth to sneer
Zygomaticus minor Front of the zygomatic Zygomatic Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Skull: Anatomy arch Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of lateral part of upper lip Upper Lip Melasma, extends to nasolabial sulcus Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
Levator labii superioris Infraorbital margin of the maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of the upper lip Upper Lip Melasma Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi Frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy process of the maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of lateral part of the nostril and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of upper lip Upper Lip Melasma Zygomatic Zygomatic Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Skull: Anatomy branches of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Dilates nostril
  • Elevates wing of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy and upper lip Upper Lip Melasma
Levator anguli oris Canine fossa (maxillary fossa) on anterior surface of the maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of angle of the mouth Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Raises the angle of the mouth while smiling
Muscles of the mouth (upper group)

Oblique view of the muscles of the mouth (upper group)

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Lower group

Table: Muscles of the mouth: lower group
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Depressor anguli oris Oblique line of the base of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of angle of the mouth Marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Pulls angle of the mouth downward
Depressor labii inferioris Oblique line of the base of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of lower lip Retracts (depresses) and everts lower lip (pouting)
Mentalis Incisive fossa on alveolar process of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of the chin Chin The anatomical frontal portion of the mandible, also known as the mentum, that contains the line of fusion of the two separate halves of the mandible (symphysis menti). This line of fusion divides inferiorly to enclose a triangular area called the mental protuberance. On each side, inferior to the second premolar tooth, is the mental foramen for the passage of blood vessels and a nerve. Melasma
  • Raises the lower lip, wrinkling the skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of the chin Chin The anatomical frontal portion of the mandible, also known as the mentum, that contains the line of fusion of the two separate halves of the mandible (symphysis menti). This line of fusion divides inferiorly to enclose a triangular area called the mental protuberance. On each side, inferior to the second premolar tooth, is the mental foramen for the passage of blood vessels and a nerve. Melasma
  • Raises base of the lower lip and helps in protrusion and eversion Eversion Chronic Apophyseal Injury of the lower lip
Muscles of the mouth (lower group)

Oblique view of the muscles of the mouth (lower group)

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Muscles of the Eyes

The muscles of the extraorbital eye assist with actions of blinking and facial expression. These muscles are primarily supplied by branches of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions.

Table: Muscles of the eyes
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Orbicularis oculi Orbital part:
  • Origin: nasal part of frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types, frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy process of maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy, medial palpebral ligament
  • Insertion: around the orbit Orbit The orbit is the cavity of the skull in which the eye and its appendages are situated. The orbit is composed of 7 bones and has a pyramidal shape, with its apex pointed posteromedially. The orbital contents comprise the eye, extraocular muscles, 5 cranial nerves, blood vessels, fat, the lacrimal apparatus, among others. Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy
Palpebral part: Lacrimal part:
Temporal and zygomatic Zygomatic Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Skull: Anatomy branches of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Orbital: clenches eyelids Eyelids Each of the upper and lower folds of skin which cover the eye when closed. Blepharitis
  • Palpebral: gently closes eyelids Eyelids Each of the upper and lower folds of skin which cover the eye when closed. Blepharitis
  • Lacrimal: drains tears
Depressor supercilii Medial orbital rim Orbital Rim Orbital Fractures Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions below the eyebrow and intercanthal region Temporal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Depresses the eyebrow
Corrugator supercilii Medial part of superciliary arch Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions over middle of the eyebrow (penetrates frontalis and orbicularis oculi) Temporal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Pulls skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of eyebrow downward and medially
Oblique view of the skull showing the superomedial extra-orbital muscles

Oblique view of the skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy, showing the superomedial extraorbital muscles

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio
Anterior view of the skull, showcasing the origin and insertion of the orbicularis oculi muscle

Anterior view of the skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy, showcasing the origin and insertion of the orbicularis oculi muscle

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Muscles of the Nose

The muscles of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy assist in respiration Respiration The act of breathing with the lungs, consisting of inhalation, or the taking into the lungs of the ambient air, and of exhalation, or the expelling of the modified air which contains more carbon dioxide than the air taken in. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy and facial expression. These muscles are supplied by branches of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions

Table: Muscles of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Nasalis Transverse nasalis (compressor naris): maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy, lateral to incisive fossa Aponeurosis of bridge of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy Buccal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Compresses nostril
Alar nasalis (dilator naris): outer surface of maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy, above lateral incisor tooth Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of ala, superior to lateral crus of major alar cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology Dilates nostril
Procerus Midline of nasal bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types and lateral nasal cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions of lower part of forehead Forehead The part of the face above the eyes. Melasma between eyebrows Draws the medial border of the eyebrows downward to produce transverse wrinkles over the bridge of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy
Depressor septi nasi Incisive fossa of the maxilla Maxilla One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy Nasal septum Nasal septum The partition separating the two nasal cavities in the midplane. It is formed by the septal nasal cartilage, parts of skull bones, and membranous parts. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy and posterior aspect of alar nasalis Depresses nasal septum Nasal septum The partition separating the two nasal cavities in the midplane. It is formed by the septal nasal cartilage, parts of skull bones, and membranous parts. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy and pulls wings of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy downward
Oblique view of the skull showing the facial muscles of the nose

Oblique view of the skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy showing the facial muscles of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Muscles of the Ear

The muscles of the ear are more simple than the other muscle groups of the face. These muscles assist with moving the ear and are innervated by fibers of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions (CN VII).

Table: Muscles of the ear
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Anterior auricular Lateral edge of the galea aponeurotica Projection Projection A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, whereby that which is emotionally unacceptable in the self is rejected and attributed (projected) to others. Defense Mechanisms on the front of the helix Temporal branch of the facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Pulls ear upward and forward
Posterior auricular Mastoid portion of temporal bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types Lower part of the cranial surface of the concha Posterior auricular nerve of facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Retracts and elevates the ear
Superior auricular Galea aponeurotica Cranial surface of the auricula Pulls ear upward
Lateral view of the head, featuring the facial muscles around the ear

Lateral view of the head, featuring the facial muscles around the ear:
Note the posterior, superior, and anterior auricular muscles.

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Muscles of Mastication

The muscles of mastication Mastication The act and process of chewing and grinding food in the mouth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy assist in the action of chewing via movement of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy. They are supplied by the mandibular branches (V3) of the trigeminal nerve Trigeminal nerve The 5th and largest cranial nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve. The larger sensory part forms the ophthalmic, mandibular, and maxillary nerves which carry afferents sensitive to external or internal stimuli from the skin, muscles, and joints of the face and mouth and from the teeth. Most of these fibers originate from cells of the trigeminal ganglion and project to the trigeminal nucleus of the brain stem. The smaller motor part arises from the brain stem trigeminal motor nucleus and innervates the muscles of mastication. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions (CN V). 

Table: Muscles of mastication Mastication The act and process of chewing and grinding food in the mouth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
Muscle Origin Insertion Nerve supply Function
Temporalis Temporalis A masticatory muscle whose action is closing the jaws; its posterior portion retracts the mandible. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Temporal fossa Temporal fossa Skull: Anatomy Coronoid process of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Branches of mandibular division of trigeminal nerve Trigeminal nerve The 5th and largest cranial nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve. The larger sensory part forms the ophthalmic, mandibular, and maxillary nerves which carry afferents sensitive to external or internal stimuli from the skin, muscles, and joints of the face and mouth and from the teeth. Most of these fibers originate from cells of the trigeminal ganglion and project to the trigeminal nucleus of the brain stem. The smaller motor part arises from the brain stem trigeminal motor nucleus and innervates the muscles of mastication. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions Elevates and retracts the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
Masseter Masseter A masticatory muscle whose action is closing the jaws. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Zygomatic Zygomatic Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Skull: Anatomy arch Masseteric tuberosity of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Elevates the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
Lateral pterygoid Lateral pterygoid Two of the masticatory muscles: the internal, or medial, pterygoid muscle and external, or lateral, pterygoid muscle. Action of the former is closing the jaws and that of the latter is opening the jaws, protruding the mandible, and moving the mandible from side to side. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Infratemporal surface of the greater wing of sphenoid and lateral plate of pterygoid process Pterygoid fossa of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
Medial pterygoid Medial pterygoid Two of the masticatory muscles: the internal, or medial, pterygoid muscle and external, or lateral, pterygoid muscle. Action of the former is closing the jaws and that of the latter is opening the jaws, protruding the mandible, and moving the mandible from side to side. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy Pterygoid fossa of sphenoid bone Sphenoid bone An irregular unpaired bone situated at the skull base and wedged between the frontal, temporal, and occipital bones (frontal bone; temporal bone; occipital bone). Sphenoid bone consists of a median body and three pairs of processes resembling a bat with spread wings. The body is hollowed out in its inferior to form two large cavities (sphenoid sinus). Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy Pterygoid tuberosity of the mandible Mandible The largest and strongest bone of the face constituting the lower jaw. It supports the lower teeth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
Muscles of mastication (1)

Lateral view of the lateral and medial pterygoid Medial pterygoid Two of the masticatory muscles: the internal, or medial, pterygoid muscle and external, or lateral, pterygoid muscle. Action of the former is closing the jaws and that of the latter is opening the jaws, protruding the mandible, and moving the mandible from side to side. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy muscles

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Clinical Relevance

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction: syndrome of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and dysfunction of the TMJ and the muscles of mastication Mastication The act and process of chewing and grinding food in the mouth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy. The most significant feature of this disorder is pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and possibly “cracking” or “popping” noises from the TMJ. The etiology is multifactorial, being attributed to musculoskeletal, psychological, and/or neuromuscular factors. Symptomatology Symptomatology Scarlet Fever may be chronic and difficult to manage. Management includes analgesics, physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy, and CBT.
  • Trismus Trismus Spasmodic contraction of the masseter muscle resulting in forceful jaw closure. This may be seen with a variety of diseases, including tetanus, as a complication of radiation therapy, trauma, or in association with neoplastic conditions. Tetanus: also called lockjaw Lockjaw Spasmodic contraction of the masseter muscle resulting in forceful jaw closure. This may be seen with a variety of diseases, including tetanus, as a complication of radiation therapy, trauma, or in association with neoplastic conditions. Tetanus. Trismus Trismus Spasmodic contraction of the masseter muscle resulting in forceful jaw closure. This may be seen with a variety of diseases, including tetanus, as a complication of radiation therapy, trauma, or in association with neoplastic conditions. Tetanus is limited range of motion Range of motion The distance and direction to which a bone joint can be extended. Range of motion is a function of the condition of the joints, muscles, and connective tissues involved. Joint flexibility can be improved through appropriate muscle strength exercises. Examination of the Upper Limbs of the jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy. The disorder may be caused by a spasm of the muscles of mastication Mastication The act and process of chewing and grinding food in the mouth. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy or by an inferior alveolar nerve block injection leading to hemorrhage within the medial pterygoid Medial pterygoid Two of the masticatory muscles: the internal, or medial, pterygoid muscle and external, or lateral, pterygoid muscle. Action of the former is closing the jaws and that of the latter is opening the jaws, protruding the mandible, and moving the mandible from side to side. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy muscle. Trismus Trismus Spasmodic contraction of the masseter muscle resulting in forceful jaw closure. This may be seen with a variety of diseases, including tetanus, as a complication of radiation therapy, trauma, or in association with neoplastic conditions. Tetanus can significantly affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment an individual’s quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement of life by interfering with eating, speaking, and maintaining proper oral hygiene. Trismus Trismus Spasmodic contraction of the masseter muscle resulting in forceful jaw closure. This may be seen with a variety of diseases, including tetanus, as a complication of radiation therapy, trauma, or in association with neoplastic conditions. Tetanus can present with an altered facial appearance. The condition may be distressing and painful, but it is temporary in most cases.
  • Myasthenia gravis Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and fatigability of skeletal muscles caused by dysfunction/destruction of acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. MG presents with fatigue, ptosis, diplopia, dysphagia, respiratory difficulties, and progressive weakness in the limbs, leading to difficulty in movement. Myasthenia Gravis: autoimmune neuromuscular junction Neuromuscular junction The synapse between a neuron and a muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction disorder characterized by varying degrees of muscle weakness. The condition commonly presents with weakness of the arms and legs, but individuals with myasthenia gravis Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and fatigability of skeletal muscles caused by dysfunction/destruction of acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. MG presents with fatigue, ptosis, diplopia, dysphagia, respiratory difficulties, and progressive weakness in the limbs, leading to difficulty in movement. Myasthenia Gravis will also have ptosis Ptosis Cranial Nerve Palsies, resulting from weakness of the muscles around the eyes. Myasthenia gravis Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and fatigability of skeletal muscles caused by dysfunction/destruction of acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. MG presents with fatigue, ptosis, diplopia, dysphagia, respiratory difficulties, and progressive weakness in the limbs, leading to difficulty in movement. Myasthenia Gravis is managed medically with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors or immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants are a class of drugs widely used in the management of autoimmune conditions and organ transplant rejection. The general effect is dampening of the immune response. Immunosuppressants and surgically by thymectomy Thymectomy Surgical removal of the thymus gland. Myasthenia Gravis
  • Cosmetics: the muscles of the face are common targets for botulinum toxin Botulinum toxin Toxic proteins produced from the species Clostridium botulinum. The toxins are synthesized as a single peptide chain which is processed into a mature protein consisting of a heavy chain and light chain joined via a disulfide bond. The botulinum toxin light chain is a zinc-dependent protease which is released from the heavy chain upon endocytosis into presynaptic nerve endings. Once inside the cell the botulinum toxin light chain cleaves specific snare proteins which are essential for secretion of acetylcholine by synaptic vesicles. This inhibition of acetylcholine release results in muscular paralysis. Botulism injection, with the intent of temporary paralyzing the targeted muscles. Relaxation of the muscles leads to fewer wrinkles and a younger-appearing face. Common muscles for botulinum toxin Botulinum toxin Toxic proteins produced from the species Clostridium botulinum. The toxins are synthesized as a single peptide chain which is processed into a mature protein consisting of a heavy chain and light chain joined via a disulfide bond. The botulinum toxin light chain is a zinc-dependent protease which is released from the heavy chain upon endocytosis into presynaptic nerve endings. Once inside the cell the botulinum toxin light chain cleaves specific snare proteins which are essential for secretion of acetylcholine by synaptic vesicles. This inhibition of acetylcholine release results in muscular paralysis. Botulism injection include the frontalis, procerus, and corrugator supercilii.

References

  1. Park, J.K., Vernick, D.M. (2020). Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma). UpToDate. Retrieved May 23, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/vestibular-schwannoma-acoustic-neuroma?search=acoustic%20neuroma
  2. Martin, K.A. (n.d.). Patient education: vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma). UpToDate. Retrieved May 23, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/vestibular-schwannoma-acoustic-neuroma-the-basics?search=acoustic%20neuroma
  3. Kutz, J.W. (2020). Acoustic neuroma: Practice essentials, history of the procedure, epidemiology. Medscape. Retrieved May 23, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/882876-overview
  4. Albrecht, M.A., and Levin, M.J. (2021). Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of herpes zoster. UpToDate. Retrieved April 18, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/epidemiology-clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-herpes-zoster
  5. Albrecht, M.A. (2020). Diagnosis of varicella zoster virus infection. UpToDate. Retrieved April 18, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/diagnosis-of-varicella-zoster-virus-infection
  6. Albrecht, M.A. (2020). Treatment of herpes zoster in the immunocompetent host. UpToDate. Retrieved April 18, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-herpes-zoster-in-the-immunocompetent-host

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