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The temporalis muscle is commonly used for functional transfer. It is architecturally complex, but few studies have examined its intramuscular innervation and none has used 3-dimensional modeling techniques. Understanding neuromuscular compartmentalization may allow the design of local muscle transfers to minimize donor-site morbidity. The purpose of the present study was to document the intramuscular innervation patterns throughout the volume of the temporalis muscle and define functional units within the muscle. In 10 formalin-embalmed cadaveric specimens, the foramen ovale was exposed and the branches of the mandibular nerve were identified. Each branch was digitized in short segments extramuscularly and intramuscularly. Three-dimensional models were reconstructed from the digitized data using Maya software, and the innervation patterns were documented. The temporalis muscle was found to have superior and inferior parts that were further grouped by innervation into regions, with each receiving its innervation from 1 primary nerve. The nerves originated directly from the mandibular nerve, except in 3 specimens, where the posterior deep temporal nerve arose from the masseteric nerve. These results provide a detailed mapping of innervation patterns and suggest there are at least 5 functional compartments. Each of these has the capacity for selective activation, 3 of which have clinical value. These findings may allow for decreased donor-site morbidity and more functionally sophisticated designs in clinical practice. Copyright © 2013 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. All rights reserved.


Youjin Chang, David Cantelmi, Jonathan J Wisco, Adel Fattah, Alan G Hannam, Anne M Agur. Evidence for the functional compartmentalization of the temporalis muscle: a 3-dimensional study of innervation. Journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery : official journal of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. 2013 Jul;71(7):1170-7

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PMID: 23806734

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