What is the facial nerve?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
The facial nerve is the seventh (VII) of 12 nerves that presents from the brainstem that controls facial animation, expression, and allows for taste sensation to the anterior two-thirds of the tongue. The efferent or motor control includes control of most of the muscles of facial expression. The five major branches found coursing through the parotid gland includes the Temporal (frontal) , zygomatic, buccal, marginal mandibular, and the cervial branches. The afferent (sensory division) nerves innervate the anterior two-thirds of the tongue via the chorda tympani. Bell's facial palsy is associated with the idiopathic form of facial nerve palsy. There may be loss of wrinkling the brow, teeth show, closure of the eyes, frowning, puffing out of the cheeks. 

Also called the seventh cranial nerve, this nerve controls most of the muscles in the face. After it emerges from the brain, it splits into five primary branches: temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular and cervical. Each branch reaches different areas of the face and signals muscles that control facial expressions.

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