Dimensions and Anatomic Variations of the Orbicularis Oculi Muscle in Nonpreserved, Fresh-Frozen Human Cadavers

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To determine average dimensions of the orbicularis oculi muscle (OOM) from the orbital rim and to investigate polymorphic variations through anatomical dissection of nonpreserved, fresh-frozen human cadavers.


The OOM was exposed using sharp and blunt dissection until its distal borders were identified. A metric ruler was used to measure the superior (S line), inferior (I line), and lateral (L line) dimensions of the OOM from the orbital rim. Data collection included age, gender, and race. Data were analyzed using 2-sample t tests, paired t tests, and mixed effect models. A p-value of ≤0.05 was considered statistically significant.


A total of 40 hemifaces of 20 cadavers were dissected. All specimens were Caucasian. Ten specimens were men. Average age was 73.9 years (56–92 years). The overall S line was 1.4 cm (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23–1.57), the I line was 1.2 cm (95% CI, 1.00–1.36), and the L line was 2.5 cm (95% CI, 2.27–2.68). Men had significantly larger average T, L, and S line values than women (p = 0.003, 0.005, 0.008, respectively). I lines did not differ significantly between genders (p = 0.28).


In senescent Caucasians, the OOM extends approximately 1.4 cm superior, 1.2 cm inferior, and 2.5 cm lateral to the orbital rim. The muscle extends significantly further superiorly and laterally in Caucasian men than in women. Knowledge of the extent of the OOM should improve the understanding and the treatment of conditions affecting this region.

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