Acta Cir Bras. 2022 Oct 28;37(8):e370803. doi: 10.1590/acb370803. eCollection 2022.
PURPOSE: To describe the microsurgical anatomical aspects of the extratemporal facial nerve of Wistar rats under a high-definition video system.
METHODS: Ten male Wistar rats (12-15 weeks old), without veterinary diseases, weighing 220-280 g, were used in this study. All animals in this study were submitted to the same protocol and by the same surgeon. A 10-mm incision was made below the bony prominence of the right or left ear, and extended towards the angle of the mandible. The dissection was performed and the main branches of the facial nerve were dissected.
RESULTS: The main trunk of the facial nerve has a length of 0.88 ± 0.10 mm and a length of 3.81 ± 1.03 mm, measured from its emergence from the stylomastoid foramen to its bifurcation. Seven branches originating from the facial nerve were identified: posterior auricular, posterior cervical, cervical, mandibular, buccal, temporal, and zygomatic.
CONCLUSIONS: The anatomy of the facial nerve is comparable to that of humans, with some variations. The most observed anatomical division was the distribution in posterior auricular, posterior cervical, cervical, mandibular, buccal, temporal, and zygomatic branches. There is no statistical difference between the thickness and distance of the structures compared to the contralateral side.