Correction of Residual Static and Dynamic Labial Deviations in a Paralyzed Face After Free Gracilis Muscle Transplantation

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Free muscle flap transfer is currently the procedure of choice for longstanding facial paralysis to restore symmetry both at rest and when smiling. However, movements obtained are generally localized, unidirectional, and philtrum centralization and lower lip movement is not proportionally achieved. The stability of free flap insertion at the lips also interferes with the results, as gradual disinsertion and shifting of the nasolabial fold can be caused by repetitive movements. Asymmetry of smile can also be caused by lip depressor inactivity due to marginal mandibular paralysis, and both dynamic and static procedures are often required after dynamic reanimation. Here, the authors report a technical refinement that can be used even years after facial reanimation, using concealed scars and with minimal morbidity for correction of static and dynamic labial deviations from the midline. Placement of a transfixed tendon graft in C-fashion tendon graft between the gracilis free flap and the orbicularis oris of the upper and lower lip on the nonparalyzed side allows the forces from muscle contraction to be transferred to the philtrum and lower lip. It allows correction of static and dynamic labial deviations from the midline, reducing rates of inadequate fixation and partial or total disinsertion of the muscle flap in the buccal region.

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