Anatomical hierarchy

Deep spaces of face and neck > Buccal space



The buccal spaces (buccinator spaces) are paired fat contained spaces on each side of the face forming cheeks. Each space is enveloped by the superficial (investing) layer of the deep cervical fascia.

It is located between the buccinator and platysma muscles, therefore only a small potential space with limited contents.



  • fat: cheek padding
  • parotid duct
  • accessory parotid gland in 20% of people which can cause facial asymmetry; readily seen on MRI
  • facial and buccal arteries and corresponding veins
  • facial nerve (CN VII): buccal branch
  • trigeminal nerve (CN V): buccal branch of the mandibular division (CN Vc)


Boundaries and relations

  • anterior: orbicular bris muscles and the angle of the mouth
  • posterior: masseter muscle, mandible, medial pterygoid and lateral pterygoid muscles
  • superior: zygomatic process of the maxilla and zygomaticus muscles
  • inferior: depressor anguli oris muscle and the deep fascia attaching to the mandible
  • medial (deep): buccinator muscle
  • lateral (superficial): platysma muscle and subcutaneous tissues with the skin



  • Buccal space infection can spread to or from the teeth. There is no real boundary between the buccal space and the submandibular space inferiorly. There is also potential communication with the pterygomandibular region, infratemporal space and to the parapharyngeal space posteriorly.


Related pathology 

  • parotid duct calculi
  • odontogenic infection
  • tumours: minor salivary gland tumours, vascular lesions (eg haemangiomas)

Harnsberger HR, Glastonbury CM, Michel MA et-al. Diagnostic Imaging: Head and Neck. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2010) ISBN:1931884781
Imaging of the Head and Neck. Thieme. (2012) ISBN:3131505311.
Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918)


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