The parotid gland

The following article will describe the histology, gross anatomy and important clinical anatomical implications of this salivary gland. The salivary glands are exocrine glands, releasing their contents onto an epithelial surface via a duct. Two types of secretory cells exist in salivary glands, serous and mucus cells.

An overview of the muscles of facial expression.

We've already looked at the innervation of the facial muscles and in particular the consequences of upper motor neurone and lower motor neurone lesions of the facial nerve here. This article will focus on the overall functional anatomy of the muscles of facial expression, the article is not an exhaustive list of the muscles of facial expression.

Key neurovascular structures in the head & neck

The neck represents an important zone of transition between the head, thorax and arms. Critical neurovascular structures are densely packed and traverse this region; having a sound anatomical awareness of this region is key for performing surgery in this region, and appreciating the effect of pathological processes on the neurovascular supply. In this article we will focus on the anterior neurovascular structures, the vertebral arteries will be discussed in a separate article.

Time to forget Thoracic outflow syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is regarded as a diagnosis of exclusion, affecting females more than males and with an incidence between 1 and 3% reported in the literature (1). When we talk about Thoracic outlet syndrome, what exactly do we mean by the thoracic outlet? Anatomists regard this as the region of the diaphragm, where the thorax and abdominal cavity communicate (2). Clinicians typically regard this as

Cervical spine anatomy

I thought I'd use this post to discuss the cervical spine, the cervical spine has some interesting points to consider when appreciating its clinical anatomy. Next time you look at an image or model of the vertebral column, look closely at it's lateral profile, the first thing you notice is that its not straight, rather its s-shaped.

Cricoid confusion

I was recently emailed a question regarding the function of the cricoid cartilage, in relation to swallowing and respiration. When trying to appreciate the functional anatomy of the cricoid cartilage, we need to frame it in the context of the larynx, as the cricoid cartilage functions in conjunction with other structures that make up the larynx.

Basal ganglia or Basal nuclei?

I know some of you are going to scroll down and think I'm not reading all that! For those of you, I have a small summary paragraph at the end. If you're more a "bring it on kinda person", then read the whole thing. I realise the basal ganglia can be a confusing topic, hence this post, if you come across terms your not familiar with, you can look them up in my neuroanatomy primer post.

Down and in or down and out?

Warning: Read when sober and after sufficient ingestion of caffeine! The action of the extraocular muscles often causes considerable confusion, this is because people get confused between the anatomical action (where the action of each muscle is considered independently) and how the muscle is clinically tested (where one often has to take into account more than one muscle moving the eye).

Can you tell a Bell’s palsy from a stroke?

In this post, I will be discussing the neuroanatomical differentiation between an upper motor neuron (UMN) and lower motor neuron (LMN) facial palsy. The two pathologies in the title could also be differentiated in other ways, for example, the speed of onset, additional symptoms and signs, etc.; however understanding the neuroanatomy in the context of the clinical picture, is the best way of avoiding making a grave error.

Tips For Studying Anatomy

I often get asked if I have any tips on how to study anatomy, so I thought a post would be the right place to express my views on this. There are lots of books on this subject, but I'm guessing you have more time to read a blog post than an entire book. With that said, I enjoy studying and teaching anatomy and have developed my own strategies based on the following principles: