Facial muscles

The facial muscles (also known as the muscles of facial expression or mimetic muscles) 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.

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:

  • orbicularis oris
  • incisivus superior
  • incisivus inferior

Muscle of mastication:

  • buccinator

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

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

Anatomy: Head and neck
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Article information

rID: 49795
Section: Anatomy
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Mimetic muscles
  • Muscles of facial expression
  • Muscle of facial expression

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