For citation purposes: Davies JC, Agur AMR, Fattah AY. Anatomic landmarks for localisation of the branches of the facial nerve. OA Anatomy 2013 Dec 01;1(4):33.

Critical review

 
Clinical Anatomy

Anatomic landmarks for localisation of the branches of the facial nerve

JC Davies, AMR Agur, AY Fattah
 

Authors affiliations

(1) Division of Anatomy, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

(2) Facial Nerve Programme, Regional Paediatric Burns and Plastic Surgery Service, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Eaton Road, Liverpool, L12 2AP, UK

* Corresponding author Email: joel.davies@mail.utoronto.ca

Abstract

Introduction

Facial nerve injury may have devastating effects on function, aesthetics and the social interaction of the affected patients. Much energy has been devoted to reliably determining landmarks to predict the course of the facial nerve divisions. Yet there is little regarding reliability of various landmarks. The aim of this review was to discuss anatomic landmarks for localisation of the branches of the facial nerve

Materials and Methods

A systematic literature review of English articles since 1990 was performed using search terms pertaining to facial nerve anatomy. In addition, data from our own anatomic studies are presented.

Results

A total of 320 articles were returned of which 17 met our criteria.

Discussion

Many articles utilised soft tissues as landmarks from which to predict the course of the facial nerve. By contrast, fixed bony landmarks are judged to be more reliable. Few studies have attempted to assess the reliability of identification of landmarks by independent raters. The facial nerve itself has a variable anatomy, making consistent landmarks difficult to identify.

Conclusion

Many different methods are presented to identify the course of the facial nerve but further work is required to produce reliable and accurate guidelines for localisation of this nerve.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)
Keywords