Facial muscles

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 17 Apr 2022

The facial muscles, also known as the muscles of facial expression or mimetic muscles (TA: musculi faciales), enable facial expression and serve as sphincters and dilators of the orifices of the face. These muscles differ from those of other regions in the body as there is no fascia deep to the skin of the face; many of the facial muscles insert directly into the skin 1. The fibers from many of the muscles also pass into/through the modiolus.

In terms of location and function the facial muscles can be subdivided as follows:

Elevators, retractors and evertors of the upper lip:

Depressors, retractors and evertors of the lower lip:

Compound sphincter:

Muscle of mastication:

They are supplied primarily by the facial artery, a branch of the external carotid artery.

The facial vein provides the primary venous drainage of most of the mimetic muscles.

They are innervated by branches of the facial nerve (VII).

The facial muscles arise from the mesenchyme of the second branchial arch. 

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