The facial muscles (also known as the muscles of facial expression or mimetic muscles) enable facial expression and serve as sphincters and dilators of the orifices of the face. These muscles differ from those of other regions in the body as there is no fascia deep to the skin of the face; many of the facial muscles insert directly into the skin .

Gross anatomy

In terms of location and function the facial muscles can be subdivided as follows:

  • occipitofrontalis (epicranius) muscle
  • temporoparietalis muscle
Circumorbital and palpebral

Elevators, retractors and evertors of the upper lip:

Depressors, retractors and evertors of the lower lip:

Compound sphincter:

  • orbicularis oris muscle
  • incisivus superior muscle
  • incisivus inferior muscle

Muscle of mastication:

Arterial supply

They are supplied primarily by the facial artery, a branch of the external carotid artery.

Venous drainage

The facial vein provides the primary venous drainage of most of the mimetic muscles.


They are innervated by branches of the facial nerve (VII).


The facial muscles arise from the mesenchyme of the second branchial arch.