Anatomical verification and designation of the superficial layer of the temporalis muscle

Ju Young Lee, Jeong Nam Kim, Soon Heum Kim, Hyun Gon Choi, Kyung Seok Hu, Hee Jin Kim, Wu Chul Song, Ki Seok Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The temporalis muscle, which is one of the masticatory muscles, enables elevation and retraction of the mandible. Direct injury to the temporalis muscle, facial nerve, or temporal fat pad during cranial-base surgery can cause temporal hollowing. The temporalis muscle is currently described in almost all atlases and textbooks as comprising a single layer. In this study, a superficial layer of the temporalis muscle is described, clarifying the anatomy of this muscle. Twenty heads of adult cadavers were dissected. The gross anatomy of the temporalis muscle was examined after removing the skin, subcutaneous tissue, superficial temporal fascia, and deep temporal fascia. The superficial layer of the temporalis muscle was clearly distinguishable from the deep layer. The superficial layer originated from the same region as the deep layer, and the muscle fibers of the two layers were intermingled in the superior part of the muscle. The deep layer of the temporalis muscle, which is referred to in textbooks and atlases simply as the temporalis muscle, was exposed after removing the superficial layer. The existence of this superficial layer was confirmed herein both histologically and by magnetic resonance imaging. Henceforth, the superficial layer of the temporalis muscle must be included in descriptions of the temporalis muscle in anatomy textbooks and atlases. The findings of this study are important not only from the perspective of simply acquiring correct anatomical knowledge, but also from the surgical perspective in preventing temporal hollowing during related surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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