Contralateral Botulinum Toxin Injection to Improve Facial Asymmetry After Acute Facial Paralysis


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Abstract

HypothesisThe application of botulinum toxin to the healthy side of the face in patients with long-standing facial paralysis has been shown to be a minimally invasive technique that improves facial symmetry at rest and during facial motion, but our experience using botulinum toxin therapy for facial sequelae prompted the idea that botulinum toxin might be useful in acute cases of facial paralysis, leading to improve facial asymmetry.BackgroundIn cases in which medical or surgical treatment options are limited because of existing medical problems or advanced age, most patients with acute facial palsy are advised to await spontaneous recovery or are informed that no effective intervention exists. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of botulinum toxin treatment for facial asymmetry in 18 patients after acute facial palsy who could not be optimally treated by medical or surgical management because of severe medical or other problems.MethodsFrom 2009 to 2011, nine patients with Bell’s palsy, 5 with herpes zoster oticus and 4 with traumatic facial palsy (10 men and 8 women; age range, 22–82 yr; mean, 50.8 yr) participated in this study. Botulinum toxin A (Botox; Allergan Incorporated, Irvine, CA, USA) was injected using a tuberculin syringe with a 27-gauge needle. The amount injected per site varied from 2.5 to 3 U, and the total dose used per patient was 32 to 68 U (mean, 47.5 ± 8.4 U).ResultAfter administration of a single dose of botulinum toxin A on the nonparalyzed side of 18 patients with acute facial paralysis, marked relief of facial asymmetry was observed in 8 patients within 1 month of injection. Decreased facial asymmetry and strengthened facial function on the paralyzed side led to an increased HB and SB grade within 6 months after injection.ConclusionUse of botulinum toxin after acute facial palsy cases is of great value. Such therapy decreases the relative hyperkinesis contralateral to the paralysis, leading to greater symmetric function. Especially in patients with medical problems that limit the medical or surgical treatment options, botulinum toxin therapy represents a useful alternative.

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