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Long-term results of microvascular free-tissue transfer reanimation of the paralyzed face: Three cases

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April 1, 2008
by John P. Leonetti, MD, Chad A. Zender, MD, Daryl Vandevender, MD, and Sam J. Marzo, MD


We conducted a retrospective case review at our tertiary care academic medical center to assess the long-term results of microvascular free-tissue transfer to achieve facial reanimation in 3 patients. These patients had undergone wide-field parotidectomy with facial nerve resection. Upper facial reanimation was accomplished with a proximal facial nerve-sural nerve graft, and lower facial movement was achieved through proximal facial nerve-long thoracic (serratus muscle) nerve anastomosis. Outcomes were determined by grading postoperative facial nerve function according to the House-Brackmann system. All 3 patients were able to close their eyes independent of lower facial movement, and all 3 had achieved House-Brackmann grade III function. We conclude that reanimating the paralyzed face with microvascular free-tissue transfer provides anatomic coverage and mimetic function after wide-field parotidectomy. Synkinesis is reduced by separating upper- and lower-division reanimation.

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