OBJECTIVE : We morphometrically analyzed human facial muscles, and evaluated the Yanagihara facial nerve grading system using our data. METHODS : We used 15 types of human facial muscle, 2 types of masticatory muscle and 2 types of skeletal muscle. The materials were obtained from 11 Japanese male cadavers aged 43-86 years. We counted the muscle fibers and measured the transverse area of the muscle fibers (TAMF), and then calculated the number of muscle fibers (NMF) per mm2 and the average TAMF. RESULTS : We found a significant correlation between average TAMF and NMF (r = - 0.70; p < 0.01). We classified facial muscles into three types based on the correlational results. Type A had a low average TAMF and high NMF. Type C had a high average TAMF and low NMF. Masticatory and skeletal muscles were characterized as Type C. Type B was intermediate between Types A and C. CONCLUSIONS : Pathological changes in the facial muscles in facial nerve palsy seem to vary according to the type of facial muscle, because each facial muscle has a unique fiber-type composition. As the nine discrete facial expressive states evaluated in the Yanagihara system involve all three facial muscle types of our classification, the Yanagihara system is an outstanding system for grading facial nerve palsy in terms of the facial muscle morphology.