Facial Nerve Repair in Cerebellopontine Angle Surgery

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Facial nerve continuity was restored during cerebellopontine angle tumor removal in nine cases. The distal facial nerve was rerouted from the stylomastoid foramen into the cerebellopontine angle. Direct suture was accomplished in seven cases while two required interposition of a greater auricular nerve graft. There was excellent return of facial function in eight of the nine cases. Overall results are superior to nerve substitution techniques. The facial nerve should be inspected for continuity following tumor removal. If one is not certain the nerve is intact, the proximal facial stump should be identified at the brain stem and facial nerve continuity reestablished. A nerve substitution procedure should be resorted to at a later time only when the proximal facial stump is not identifiable.

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