Background: The superior labial artery, which is a branch of the facial artery, supplies the upper lip area. The aim of this study was to determine the distribution pattern of the superior labial artery and provide precise topographic information of the artery for dermal filler injection. Methods: Sixty hemifaces from 18 Korean and 18 Thai cadavers were used for this study. The various distribution patterns of the superior labial artery were classified according to its relationship with the facial artery. Results: The course of the superior labial artery was classified into four types: type I (56.7 percent), in which the artery and the alar branch both arise directly and independently from the facial artery; type II (21.7 percent), in which the superior labial artery branches off from the facial artery and then gives off an alar branch; type III (15.0 percent), in which it is the terminal branch of the facial artery; and type IV (6.7 percent), in which the artery is absent. The origin of the superior labial artery was located 12.1 ± 3.1 mm (mean ± SD) lateral and at a variable angle of 42.8 ± 26.9 degrees relative to the mouth corner. Conclusions: The superior labial artery proceeded from the origin of the artery located within a 1.5-cm-side square superolateral to the mouth corner as running along the vermilion border of the upper lip to the facial sagittal midline at a depth of 3 mm. Thus, clinicians should be careful when injecting dermal filler into this area.
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