Authors of section

Authors

Ricardo Cienfuegos, Carl-Peter Cornelius, Edward Ellis III, George Kushner

Executive Editors

Marcelo Figari, Gregorio Sánchez Aniceto

General Editor

Daniel Buchbinder

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Preauricular approach

1. Principles

General considerations
The preauricular approach can be used to access and treat fractures in the mandibular condylar head and neck region. Many surgeons perform temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) surgery and routinely use this incision to access the superior portion of the mandibular condylar process.

The illustration demonstrates the access and the amount of exposure.

The illustration demonstrates the access and the amount of exposure

Neurovascular structures
Branches of the facial nerve may be involved in this incision and dissection.
The superficial temporal artery and vein are commonly encountered in this surgical approach. The vessels should be conserved if possible.

The vessels should be conserved if possible

Exposure offered by extraoral approaches
Submandibular approach

Submandibular approach

Retromandibular

  • Transparotid
  • Retroparotid

Retromandibular approach

Preauricular approach

Preauricular approach

Facelift incision (rhytidectomy)

Facelift incision (rhytidectomy)

2. Skin incision

General consideration
Use of a solution containing vasoconstrictors ensures hemostasis at the surgical site. The two options currently available are the use of local anesthetic or a physiologic solution with vasoconstrictor alone.

Use of a local anesthetic with vasoconstrictor may impair the function of the facial nerve and impede the use of a nerve stimulator during the surgical procedure. Therefore, consideration should be given to using a physiological solution with vasoconstrictor alone or injecting the local anesthetic with vasoconstrictor very superficially.

Make the incision in a preauricular skin crease.

Preauricular approach

3. Dissection

Locating temporalis fascia
Carry the incision through the skin and subcutaneous tissues to the depth of the temporalis fascia. The temporalis fascia is a glistening white tissue layer that is best appreciated in the superior portion of the incision.

The superficial temporal vessels may be retracted anteriorly with the skin flap (sectioning some posterior and superior branches) or left in place (sectioning frontal branches).

The zygomatic arch can easily be palpated at this point of the dissection. The lateral pole of the mandibular condyle can also be palpated. This can be facilitated by having a surgical assistant manipulate the jaw.

Incision to the depth of the temporalis fascia

Incising temporalis fascia
Make an oblique incision parallel to the frontal branch of the facial nerve, through the superficial layer of the temporalis fascia above the zygomatic arch.

Make an oblique incision parallel to the frontal branch of the facial nerve

Dissection of the joint capsule
Insert the periosteal elevator beneath the superficial layer of the temporalis fascia and strip the periosteum off the lateral zygomatic arch.

Dissection will be carried inferiorly to expose the capsule of the TMJ.

Insert the periosteal elevator

Coronal view of dissection to the lateral portion of the zygomatic arch and mandibular condyle region.

Note: the frontal branch of the facial nerve is protected within the superficial layer of the deep temporalis fascia.

Coronal view of dissection

4. Optional: capsule incision

In the rare case of treating condylar head fractures the TMJ capsule is incised in an open manner.

Incising the TMJ capsule

Dissection can be carried inferiorly in a subperiosteal plane to reach the neck of the mandibular condyle.
A disadvantage of this approach is that the surgeon can reach only a limited portion of the condylar neck region.

Dissection can be carried inferiorly in a subperiosteal plane

5. Wound closure

If the TMJ capsule has been incised to access the condylar head it must be closed as the first step.

The TMJ capsule must be closed

The temporalis fascia is closed as the next step.

Skin and subcutaneous sutures are placed.

A pressure dressing may be placed over this wound according to surgeon’s preference.

The temporalis fascia is closed