What is the embryogenesis of congenital facial paralysis?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Alan D Bruns, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

The facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) develops early in fetal life from the facioacoustic crest in the second branchial arch. All facial muscles are identifiable in the embryo by the 14th week. The facial nerve develops close to the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII). Therefore, any abnormality of these structures often accompanies facial nerve deficits. At term, the anatomy of the facial nerve approximates the adult anatomy with the exception of its superficial location within a poorly pneumatized mastoid. Development of the mastoid bone occurs from age 1-3 years and displaces the facial nerve medially and inferiorly.


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