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Paul Kim

Facial nerve: extracranial branches (English)

Facial nerve: extracranial branches (English)

After it emerges from the stylomastoid foramen, the facial nerve gives off the posterior auricular nerve (which provides motor innervation to the occipital part of occipitofrontalis muscle and auricular muscles, as well as sensory innervation to the variable amounts of the auricle and retroauricular region), as well as other motor branches to the digastric (posterior belly) and stylohyoid muscles. It then enters the parotid gland and bifurcates into two trunks, which give off five terminal branches collectively known as the parotid plexus. These are the temporal, zygomatic, buccal, marginal mandibular, and cervical branches, all of which innervate the muscles of facial expression but do not innervate the parotid gland itself.
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