Cross-Face Nerve Grafting versus Masseteric-to-Facial Nerve Transposition for Reanimation of Incomplete Facial Paralysis: A Comparative Study Using the FACIAL CLIMA Evaluating System

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Abstract

Background:

Incomplete facial paralysis is still a challenge because we must restore what is missing without causing damage to what has recovered. The current literature is insufficient, with a small number of cases. The use of nerve transfers has gained recent popularity for reanimating facial palsy. The authors present a comparative study between cross-face nerve grafting and masseteric-to-facial nerve transposition for incomplete facial paralysis.

Methods:

Twenty-eight patients with incomplete unilateral facial paralysis were reanimated with either cross-face nerve grafting (group I, n = 10) or masseteric nerve transfer (group II, n = 18). Commissural displacement and commissural contraction velocity were measured using the FACIAL CLIMA dystem. Spontaneity of the movement and satisfaction were also assessed.

Results:

When comparing the reconstructed and the healthy sides, statistical differences were found in group I but not in group II, suggesting that the resulting movement was symmetrical in group II but not in group I. Intergroup comparison showed that both commissural displacement and commissural contraction velocity were higher in group II. Spontaneity in group I was higher than in group II, but patients in group II showed more satisfaction, both without being statistically significant.

Conclusions:

Reanimation of incomplete facial paralysis can be satisfactorily achieved with both cross-face nerve grafting and direct masseteric-to-facial nerve transposition. However, with the masseteric nerve, better symmetry, a higher degree of recovery, and an increased level of satisfaction are achieved in a one-stage operation. Furthermore, both nerve sources are able to restore spontaneity in more than 50 percent of the patient’s daily life, with no significant differences between them.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, III.

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