The facial nerve has four components with distinct functions:
(special visceral efferent)
|Supplies the muscles of facial expression; posterior belly of digastric muscle; stylohyoid, and stapedius.|
(general visceral efferent)
|Parasympathetic innervation of the lcrimal, submandibular, and sublingual glands, as well as mucous membranes of nasopharynx, hard and soft palate.|
|Taste sensation from the anterior 2/3 of tongue; hard and soft palates.|
(general somatic afferent)
|General sensation from the skin of the concha of the auricle and from a small area behind the ear|
Branchial motor fibers constitute the largest portion of the facial nerve.
The remaining three components are bound in a distinct fascial sheath from the branchial motor fibers. Collectively these three components are referred to as the nervus intermedius.