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The Surgical Anatomy of the Jowl and the Mandibular Ligament Reassessed

 Lennert Minelli  ;  Hun-Mu Yang  ;  Berend van der Lei  ;  Bryan Mendelson 
 AESTHETIC PLASTIC SURGERY, Vol.47(1) : 170-180, 2023-02 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adolescent ; Aged ; Aging ; Face / anatomy & histology ; Humans ; Ligaments / anatomy & histology ; Mandible* ; Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System*
Aging ; Facial retaining ligaments ; Jowl ; Labiomandibular fold ; Mandible ; Platysma
Introduction: A visible jowl is a reason patients consider lower facial rejuvenation surgery. The anatomical changes that lead to formation of the jowl remain unclear. The aim of this study was to elucidate the anatomy of the jowl, the mandibular ligament and the labiomandibular crease, and their relationship with the marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve.

Materials and methods: Forty-nine cadaver heads were studied (16 embalmed, 33 fresh, mean age 75 years). Following preliminary dissections and macro-sectioning, a series of standardized layered dissections were performed, complemented by histology, sheet plastination and micro-CT.

Results: The jowl forms in the subcutaneous layer where it overlies the posterior part of the mandibular ligament. The mandibular ligament proper exists only in the deep, sub-platysma plane, formed by the combined muscular attachment to the mandible of the specific lower lip depressor muscles and the platysma. The mandibular ligament does not have a definitive subcutaneous component. The labiomandibular crease inferior to the oral commissure marks the posterior extent of the fixed dermal attachment of depressor anguli oris.

Conclusion: Jowls develop as a consequence of aging changes on the functional adaptions of the mouth in humans. To accommodate wide jaw opening with a narrowed commissure requires hypermobility of the tissues overlying the mandible immediately lateral to the level of the oral commissure. This hypermobility over the mandibular attachment of the lower lip depressor muscles occurs entirely in the subcutaneous layer to allow the mandible to move largely independent from the skin. The short, elastic subcutaneous connective tissue, which allows this exceptional mobility without laxity in youth, lengthens with aging, resulting in laxity. The development of subcutaneous and dermal redundancy constitutes the jowl in this location.

Level of evidence iv: "This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266 ."
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Anatomy (해부학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Yang, Hun Mu(양헌무) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1954-0114
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