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Free Content Just Face It, We Could All Use a (Pictorial) Review: Anatomy, Variants, and Pathology of the Facial Nerve

Imaging plays a central role in the work-up of patients who present with suspected facial nerve pathology. Imaging evaluation, however, can be quite challenging due to the complex anatomy and function of the facial nerve, as well as the diversity of pathology that affects this nerve. The purpose of this article is to provide a pictorial review of the normal anatomy, function, and imaging appearance of the facial nerve, as well as review the numerous pathologic processes that affect the facial nerve, with emphasis on key differentiating imaging features.

Learning Objective: To understand the normal anatomy and imaging appearance of the facial nerve and to recognize facial nerve pathology when encountered on both CT and MR imaging.
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