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Second branchial arch muscles

Other Terms: Face, Muscles of facial expression


The numerous muscles of facial expression are a varied group of muscles that all arise from the second branchial arch. Because the facial nerve is the nerve to this arch, this large array of widely distributed muscles in the head and neck receive their nerve supply from branches of the facial nerve. During development, the muscles of this arch migrate toward the surface just deep to the developing integument. As a result, this group of muscles and their associated fascia is superficial to all other muscles in the head and neck. These muscles are located within the subcutaneous layer of the integument of the head and neck, with many of their fibers inserting into the skin. Because they are closely associated with the skin of the head, contraction of their fibers produces the wide variety of movements defined as facial expression. In addition, these muscles contribute significantly to the processes of eating, speech, and breathing. They form five functional groups: 1) scalp muscles, 2) circumorbital and eyelid muscles, 3) nasal muscles, 4) muscles of the mouth and lips, and 5) ear muscles.


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