Objectives Objective of the study were 1) to determine the course, including specific relationship to the vermilion border, free margin of the lip, and orbicularis oris and number of the superior and inferior labial arteries, and 2) to discuss the relevance of this anatomy to design of the Abbé flap.
Study Design Detailed anatomical dissections of the mid and lower face of injected cadaver heads.
Methods Sixteen superior labial arteries and 15 inferior labial arteries in 9 adult cadaver heads ranging in age from 41 to 90 years were studied.
Results The superior labial artery was a single vessel in all cases. At the oral commissure the vessel was superior to the vermilion border in 94% of the dissections. At the midline the vessel was within the vermilion border in 75% of dissections. The vessel was found within the orbicularis oris in 19% of dissections and between the mucosa and the orbicularis oris in 81% of dissections. The inferior labial artery was a single vessel in all dissections. Its course was variable in position relative to the vermilion border and to its take-off from the facial artery. In the central portion of the lip the vessel was found within the orbicularis oris in 13% of dissections and between the mucosa and the orbicularis oris in 87% of dissections.
Conclusions The superior labial artery is found within 10 mm of the free margin of the upper lip. The inferior labial artery is variable in its course, varying up to 15 mm from the free margin of the lower lip.