The Retaining Ligaments of the Cheek

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The zygomatic ligaments (McGregor's patch) anchor the skin of the cheek to the inferior border of the zygoma just posterior to the origin of the zygomaticus minor muscle. The mandibular ligaments tether the overlying skin to the anterior mandible. Both these ligaments are obstacles to surgical maneuvers intended to advance the overlying skin. They also restrain the facial skin against gravitational changes, and they delineate the anterior border of the “jowl” area. The platysma-auricular ligament is a thin fascial sheet that extends from the postero-superior border of the platysma and that is intimately attached to the periauricular skin; it serves as a surgical guide to the posterosuperior border of the platysma. The anterior platysma-cutaneous ligaments are variable fascial condensations that anchor the SMAS and platysma to the dermis. They can cause anatomic disorientation with dissection of false planes into the dermis.

These four ligaments are useful as anatomic landmarks during facial dissections. The tethering effects of the zygomatic and mandibular ligaments must be interrupted if a maximum upward movement of the facial skin is desired.

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