The risorius muscle is a large facial muscle. This muscle is located around the mouth area and is primarily responsible for creating facial expressions. The risorius begins around the parotid gland, a salivary gland in the back of the jaw, and wraps around the platysma muscle. The platysma muscle is located in the chest and neck. The risorius continues until the skin of the mouth where it ends. The facial nerve is also directly connected to the risorius muscle. The risorius works by expanding and contracting in an upward and outward motion. When moving upward and outward the risorius muscle works with other facial muscles to create a whole facial motion that moves upward and outward in a cohesive unit. The upward and outward motion of all the muscles pulls the lips and face back to create various facial expressions. Facial expressions allow humans to show emotion through non-verbal communication. Smiling and frowning are two of the facial expressions that are created by all facial muscles working together.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Risorius

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