A site for medical students - Practical,Theory,Osce Notes

Anatomical peculiarity of facialnerve

Facial nerve is a Sensorimotor nerve with the following functions
  • Special visceral efferent (facial muscle)
  • General visceral efferent (submandibular, sublingual and lacrimal glands)
  • Special visceral afferent (taste from anterior two-thirds of tongue)
  • General somatic afferent (sensation from external auditory meatus, mastoid and pinna)
The upper half of the face has a bilateral representation ,whereas the lower half of the face has unilateral representation.
Nuclei of facial nerve are 4 in number
Motor nucleus contains dorsal and ventral group of cells and is situated in ventral pons
Superior Salivatory nucleus control salivation
Nucleus of tractus solitaries carry taste sensation from anterior 2/3 rd of tongue and sensation from external auditory meatus
Lacrimal nucleus. for lacrimation

There is two types of movements voluntary and reflexmovements
Volitional movement
There is supranuclear connection for volitional movement
It is unique for facial nerve
For Volitional movement the fibers start from  lower part of precentral gyrus , corticonuclear fibers descend to pons and cross to opposite facial nucleus. Nucleus  for the superior half of facial muscles receiving ipsilateral and contralateral supranuclear fibers. Nucleus  for the inferior half of facial muscles mainly receive contralateral supranuclear fibers .This explains why the upperhalf is spared in UMN lesion and only lower half is affected.
Occasionally lower half of face also has ipsilateral supranuclear innervation but it is less than contralateral innervation. This will result in only paresis of lower half in UMN lesion, if ipsilateral supranuclear innervation is also equal to contralateral  innervation both upper half and lower half may escape in UMN lesion.
Rarely upper half will have innervation predominantly from contralateral fibers. Thus in UMN lesion there is extension of weakness to upper half of face also.
For reflex movement 
Fibers from premotor area, extrapyramidal center, basal ganglia, through separate pathway, innervate the Nucleus from both sides but predominantly from Right cortex.
Lesion of this pathway produce Mimic facial palsy.
Nervus intermedius
It is the  Sensory counter part of facial nerve,it carry fibers of Superior Salivatory nucleus, lacrimal nucleus, and Nucleus of tractus solitarius.
It subserves the following
Somatic sensation of mastoid region ,part of pinnae, external auditory canal
Secretomotor fibers to lacrimal gland, salivary glands - sublingual and submandibular and
Visceral sensation – taste sensation from ant. 2/3rd of tongue.