Fetal anatomy of the facial nerve trunk and its relationship with posterior auricular artery

ELVAN Ö., BOBUŞ A., ERDOĞAN S., Aktekin M. , Olgunus Z. K.

Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy, vol.41, no.2, pp.153-159, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00276-018-2126-x
  • Title of Journal : Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy
  • Page Numbers: pp.153-159


PurposeThe aims of the study are to define anatomy of the facial nerve (FN) and its main trunks as well as their relationship with the posterior auricular artery in fetal period to evaluate the data for regional surgery in newborns and young infants.MethodsFormalin-fixed 34 fetuses from anatomy laboratory collection with a mean gestational age of 26.44.6 (20-36) weeks were dissected. Parameters regarding the presence of major or minor trunks, width, length, branching pattern of FN were evaluated according to side, gender and trimester. The positional relationship of posterior auricular artery with the FN trunk was inspected.ResultsOn all sides only the major trunk of the FN was detected. For length and width parameters, there was no statistically significant difference for side and gender except for trimester. Linear functions were found as 0.329+0.025xweeks for width and 5.264+0.185xweeks for length. There are statistically significant linear relationships between width and length of the FN trunk and week parameters as r=0.507, p<0.001 and r=0.484, p<0.001, respectively. Posterior auricular artery crossed FN trunk laterally in 42 of 53 sides, medially in 9 sides while it was puncturing it proximally in 2 sides. In all cases, it was in close contact to the FN trunk. FN trunk showed bifurcation in 82% and trifurcation in 18%.Conclusion Dimensions of FN trunk, growth ratio and linear functions can be beneficial in understanding the fetal growth of FN trunk and its usage for grafts. Data about the relationship of the posterior auricular artery with FN trunk may be crucial in avoiding iatrogenic injuries during surgery in early ages.