Objective: The facial nerve and close relationship between its branches and parotid duct were investigated.
Methods: This study was performed on 31 half heads of 16 fixed cadavers. The extracranial course of the nerve was exposed. The posterior auricular nerve origined from facial nerve and branches forming the parotid and buccal plexuses were investigated. The parotid duct and anastomoses between branches of the nerve were also investigated.
Results: We observed differences in the course of the branches of the facial nerve. The posterior auricular nerve was arised directly from the facial nerve before entering the parotid gland in 20 sides, arised from onset of cervicofacial ramus in 10 sides and arised from temporofacial ramus in one side. Pattern differences of parotid and buccal plexuses and especially anastomoses between the branches were identified.
Conclusion: We are in the opinion that the knowledge of courses and relationships of the branches of the facial nerve will actually provide a great benefit in preventing surgical complications.
Facial nerve; Peripheral branches; Topographic anatomy