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Course and distribution of facial corticobulbar tract fibres in the lower brain stem


The course and distribution of the facial corticobulbar tract (CBT) was examined by correlating MRI of brain stem lesions with neurological symptoms and signs including central (C-FP) or peripheral facial paresis (P-FP) in 70 patients with localised infarction of the lower brain stem. C-FP occurred more often in patients with lesions of the lower pons or upper medulla of the ventromedial brain stem. Some patients with dorsolateral infarcts of the upper medulla to the lower pons showed C-FP, mostly on the lesion side. P-FP on the side of the lesion was also seen in patients with dorsolateral involvement of the lower pons. Patients with ventromedial infarction of the brain stem showed paresis of extremities contralateral to the lesion. Specific neurological symptoms and signs such as dysphagia, vertigo, nystagmus, Horner's syndrome, ipsilateral cerebellar ataxia, and contralateral superficial sensory impairment were seen in patients with dorsolateral infarcts of the brain stem. It is hypothesised that the facial CBT descends at the ventromedial lower pons, near the corticospinal tract, mainly to the level of the upper medulla, where the fibres then decussate and ascend in the dorsolateral medulla to synapse in the contralateral facial nucleus.

  • facial nerve
  • corticobulbar tract
  • brain stem
  • magnetic resonance imaging

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