An Update on the Anatomy of the Forehead Compartments

Sebastian Cotofana, Asima Mian, Jonathan M Sykes, Wolfgang Redka-Swoboda, Andrea Ladinger, Tatjana Pavicic, Thilo L. Schenck, Fahd Benslimane, Fabio Ingallina, Alexander Schlattau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The forehead is one of the most frequent locations for neuromodulator and soft tissue filler applications; however, the underlying anatomy is still poorly understood. Thus far, the presence of deep forehead compartments has not been confirmed. Methods: Twenty Caucasian cephalic specimens, 15 fresh frozen (six female and nine male) and five with formalin-phenol embalmment (three female and two male) were investigated using contrast-enhanced computed tomographic scans, dye injections, and anatomical dissections. Results: Three superficial (one central and two lateral) and three deep (one central and two lateral) forehead compartments were identified. The superficial fat compartments were found within the subcutaneous fat tissue (layer 2) and measured 2.1 × 4.6 mm for the superficial central forehead compartments and the right superficial lateral forehead compartments and 2.6 × 3.2 cm for the left superficial lateral forehead compartments, with a mean volume of 2.5, 3.1, and 3.4 cc, respectively. The deep fat compartments were identified deep to the frontalis muscle but superficial to the periosteum with an extent of 6.4 × 5.9 cm for the deep central forehead compartments, 2.6 × 5.8 cm for the right deep lateral forehead compartments, and 2.7 × 5.8 cm for the left deep lateral forehead compartments, and a mean volume of 9.1, 1.6, and 1.4 cc, respectively. Conclusions: The results presented in this study increase the understanding of the forehead anatomy. Understanding the presence of the superficial and the deep forehead compartments allows one to change the signs of frontal aging. The deep forehead compartments are in general avascular planes and permit blunt dissection for access to the supraorbital region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864e-872e
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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