Facial nucleus

Last revised by Frank Gaillard on 24 Mar 2022

The facial nucleus or facial motor nucleus is the efferent nucleus of the facial nerve.

Gross Anatomy

The nucleus is located in the caudal lower aspect of the pontine tegmentum at the level of the middle cerebellar peduncles. It lies dorsal to the medial lemniscus and ventral and medial to the spinal tract and spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve.

Facial efferent fibers leave the nucleus dorsally and swing around the abducens nucleus close to the floor of the fourth ventricle before passing laterally back between their the trigeminal spinal nucleus laterally and its own facial nucleus medially.

The fibers emerge as the motor root of the facial nerve at the pontomedullary junction next to the olive.


The nucleus houses the motor cell bodies that innervate the muscles of facial expression as well as:

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: lower pons anatomy
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 4: brainstem nuclei: dorsal section
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 3: facial colliculus
    Drag here to reorder.