BACKGROUND: Improper manipulation of injectable treatments to the face can result in disastrous vascular complications. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the detoured course of the facial artery and to provide detailed metric data regarding facial artery location with a view to helping physicians avoid iatrogenic vascular accidents during injectable treatments. METHODS: Sixty specimens from 35 embalmed cadavers (24 male and 11 female cadavers; mean age, 70.0 years) and one fresh male cadaver (age, 62 years) were used for this study. RESULTS: In 56 cases (93.3 percent), the branches of the facial artery were observed at the vicinity of the nasolabial fold. The facial artery was located 3.2 ± 4.5 mm (mean ± SD) lateral to the ala of the nose and 13.5 ± 5.4 mm lateral to the oral commissure. It crossed the nasolabial fold in 33.9 percent of cases, and ascended within 5 mm of the nasolabial fold in 42.9 percent. The facial artery and detoured branches were found in 18 cases (30.0 percent). In the cases with detoured branches, the facial artery turned medially over the infraorbital area at 39.2 ± 5.8 mm lateral to the facial midsagittal line and 35.2 ± 8.2 mm inferior to the plane connecting the medial epicanthi of both sides. The nasojugal portion of the detoured branch traveled along the inferior border of the orbicularis oculi and then ascended toward the forehead, forming the angular artery. CONCLUSION: This detailed vascular anatomy of the facial artery will promote safe clinical manipulations during injectable treatments to the nasolabial fold and nasojugal groove.
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