Immediate Hypoglossal-Facial Anastomosis in Patients With Facial Interruption

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Abstract

Hypoglossal-facial anastomosis provides excellent motor supply to the mimetic muscles of the face when there is no chance of recovery of the damaged facial nerve. However, to achieve optimal results, the timing of facial nerve surgery based on electrophysiological testing and clinical evaluation requires close follow-up of the patient. Functional results after delayed surgery are not predictable and depend on the number of surviving fibers, type of injury, severity of damage, degree of infiltration of inflammatory cells, and local fibrosis. Facial hypertonia, synkinesis, and involuntary mass movement are the major problems of delayed reanimation of the facial nerve. Surgery in the vicinity of the facial nerve always aims to preserve neural integrity. However, immediate facial nerve grafting is sometimes required. We present our experience with 4 patients having normal facial function prior to surgery. The facial nerve was severed due to tumor infiltration and instantaneously reconstructed with the hypoglossal nerve. Two patients had House-Brackmann grade-II 10 days and 28 months after surgery, respectively, and another 2 patients had House-Brackmann grade-III facial paralysis 2 weeks and 6 months after surgery, respectively.

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