Objective: Animal models offer an unprecedented opportunity to preclinically evaluate the efficacy and safety of newly developed human surgical therapies. In order to develop maxillofacial surgical research including tissue engineering and face transplantation, the surgical anatomy of the miniature pig’s face was investigated using identical procedures that were previously described by Ellis and Zide for humans.
Methods: A modified Blair incision was initially made through the facial skin and subcutaneous tissues. The underlying tissues were then dissected in order to progressively expose the platysma muscle, the superficial layer of deep cervical fascia, the facial artery and vein, the facial nerve, the mental nerve, and the facial skeleton.
Results: The marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve has an upper and lower division. Stimulation of the facial nerve and its branches showed that the upper division of marginal mandibular branch innervates muscles and tissues in the upper lip and nose region, and the lower division innervates muscles and tissues in the lower lip region. The condyle of mandible has only one head and no condylar process. Orbit has no orbital floor and lateral wall.
Conclusion: The gross anatomy of the maxillofacial region in the pigs was found to be similar to that of humans. Although the distributions of the marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve, the condyle and the orbit are different from that of humans, we concluded that miniature pigs are suitable experimental model for the preclinical development of tissue engineering applications and face transplantation in maxillofacial surgery.
Conflict of interest: None declared.