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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Mar;131(3):510-22. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31827c6ed6.

New perspectives on the surgical anatomy and nomenclature of the temporal region: literature review and dissection study.

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  • 1Taylor Laboratory, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. jxob@optusnet.com.au



Understanding of the temporal region remains confused, largely because of the ambiguous nomenclature. Aspects of the anatomy also remain unclear and are variably reported in the literature. The aim of this study was twofold: (1) to clarify details of the anatomy, using fresh cadaver dissections; and (2) to propose a standardized nomenclature that is based on recognized principles of nomenclature, contemporary use, and correct anatomical detail.


A cadaver dissection study on 24 fresh hemifaces (13 male, 11 female; mean age, 72 years) was undertaken at the University of Melbourne to clarify the anatomy of the tissue layers and dissection planes of the region. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken to clarify the nomenclature of the region and to investigate the current understanding of the anatomy itself.


The tissue layers, ligamentous structures, and anatomy of two separate soft-tissue compartments within the temporal region were consistently identified across all dissection specimens. A standardized nomenclature system for the temporal region has been proposed.


The use of consistent nomenclature to describe the structures in the temporal region facilitates understanding and discussion of the anatomy. Two separate soft-tissue compartments exist in the temporal region, bounded by ligamentous structures. The tissue layers differ considerably between the two compartments, and anatomical landmarks within these layers provide useful information to the surgeon operating in the temporal region.

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