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Reinnervation of facial muscles with only a cross-facial nerve graft in a 25-year-old patient with congenital facial palsy

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July 14, 2014
by Kamal Seyed-Forootan, MD; Hamid Karimi, MD; Esmaiil Hasani, MD


The standard method for managing chronic facial palsy is the two-stage free-muscle flap. We report a case involving a 25-year-old patient who had facial palsy from her birth. Twelve months after the first stage of a cross-facial nerve graft, we found that the voluntary movements of her facial muscles had returned. Within the following 12 months, she gained complete recovery of her movements on the affected side, as confirmed by electromyography studies. This case demonstrates that neurotization of facial muscles in chronic facial palsy is possible. However, further studies are needed to define the trophic effects or trophic mediators that can restore function to atrophied facial muscles and to determine which patients might benefit from the cross-facial nerve graft procedure without the free-muscle graft procedure.

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