Zygomaticus major muscle bony attachment site: a Thiel-embalmed cadaver study

E. Sarilita (Lead / Corresponding author), C. Rynn, P. A. Mossey, S. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
233 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Thezygomaticus major is a principal muscle of facial expression which is engaged when smiling. The zygomaticus major origin of the zygomatic bone is often discussed relevant to its importance in the field of plastic surgery. In addition, the zygomaticus major attachment site is also significant for forensic craniofacial reconstruction, separating the cheek into frontal and lateral surfaces. However, there are discrepancies amongst published articles regarding the precise origin of the zygomaticus major muscle. The aim of this study is to investigate more distinctive and palpable landmarks as the bony attachment of the zygomaticus major.

Methods: This project is the first zygomaticus major dissection study utilising Thiel embalmed cadavers. Fifty-two facial dissections were investigated in 26 Thiel embalmed bodies, bequeathed to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at The University of Dundee between 2013 and 2015.

Results: This study found that the origin of zygomaticus major muscle was located at the superior margin of the temporal process on the lateral surface of zygomatic bone. Moreover, the zygomaticus major muscle overlapped the anterosuperior border of the masseter muscle. One out of 52 zygomaticus major muscles presented bifurcation.

Conclusion: The origin site of zygomaticus major is considered important to increase resemblance in forensic craniofacial reconstruction. Furthermore, since zygomaticus major is a salient muscle involved in facial expression, the potential effects for cosmetic/surgical procedures are also relevant to the medical field and successful surgical outcomes. The current study provided easily palpable landmarks of zygomaticus major origin site which is beneficial for both surgeons and forensic craniofacial reconstruction practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
Issue number348
Early online date14 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Cadaver dissection
  • Thiel embalmed
  • Zygomaticus major

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy


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