Background: Upper eyelid reanimation is one of the most important aspects of facial paralysis. The ideal method would be one that provided dynamic restoration of voluntary eye closure, involuntary blinking, and corneal reflex. Innervation to the platysma has shown to be relatively consistent, which would allow its use as a muscle graft neurotized by the contralateral healthy facial nerve for eyelid reanimation.
Methods: Six fresh cadavers, 12 sides, were studied by dissecting the main trunk of the facial nerve and its cervicofacial division. Special attention was paid at the emergence of cervical branches to the platysma and its distribution on the undersurface of the muscle as well as its relationships with regional anatomic references.
Results: One major branch with 1 or 2 accessory branches was found to emerge from the cervicofacial division, 1.5 cm distal to its origin in the facial nerve trunk. The major branch showed an oblique course, starting approximately 1 cm below the angle of the mandible and coursing toward the inferomedial border of the muscle. Harvest of a 3 × 2 muscle piece with a 10-cm–long neural pedicle was possible in all specimens. When presented over the superior eyelid, the nerve branch was found to reach the contralateral frontal branch of the facial nerve.
Conclusions: Innervation to the platysma muscle is relatively constant and consists of 1 major branch accompanied by 1 or 2 accessory branches. Harvest of a muscle flap with a neural pedicle long enough to reach the contralateral healthy side is anatomically feasible.