Background: Anatomical knowledge of the facial vasculature is crucial for successful plastic, reconstructive, and minimally invasive procedures of the face. Whereas the majority of previous investigations focused on facial arteries, the precise course, variability, and relationship with adjacent structures of the facial vein have been widely neglected. Methods: Seventy-two fresh frozen human cephalic cadavers (32 male and 40 female cadavers; mean age, 75.2 ± 10.9 years; mean body mass index, 24.2 ± 6.6 kg/m2; 99 percent Caucasian ethnicity) were investigated by means of layer-by-layer anatomical dissection. In addition, 10 cephalic specimens were investigated using contrast agent-enhanced computed tomographic imaging. Results: The facial vein displayed a constant course in relation to the adjacent anatomical structures. The vein was identified posterior to the facial artery, anterior to the parotid duct, and deep to the zygomaticus major muscle. The angular vein formed the lateral boundary of the deep medial cheek fat and the premaxillary space, and the medial boundary of the deep lateral cheek fat and the sub-orbicularis oculi fat. The mean distance of the inferior and superior labial veins, of the deep facial vein, and of the angular vein from the inferior orbital margin was 51.6 ± 3.1, 42.6 ± 2.3, 27.4 ± 3.0, and 4.2 ± 0.7 mm, respectively. Conclusions: This work provides detailed information on the course of the facial vein in relation to neighboring structures. The presented clinically relevant anatomical observations and descriptions of landmarks will serve as helpful information for plastic, reconstructive, and aesthetic surgeons.
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