Our study evaluates the grade and timing of recovery in 30 patients with complete facial paralysis (House- Brackmann grade VI) treated with hypoglossal-facial nerve (XII-VII) anastomosis and a long-term rehabilitation program, consisting of exercises in facial muscle activation mediated by tongue movement and synkinesis control with mirror feedback.
Reinnervation after XII-VII anastomosis occurred in 29 patients, on average 5.4 months after surgery. Three years after the anastomosis, 23.3% of patients had grade II, 53.3% grade III, 20% grade IV and 3.3% grade VI ratings on the House-Brackmann scale. Time to reinnervation was associated with the final House-Brackmann grade. Our study demonstrates that patients undergoing XIIVII anastomosis and a long-term rehabilitation program display a significant recovery of facial symmetry and movement. The recovery continues for at least three years after the anastomosis, meaning that prolonged follow-up of these patients is advisable. KEY WORDS facial nerve, facial palsy, hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis, mirror feedback, rehabilitation.
- Facial nerve
- Facial palsy
- Hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis
- Mirror feedback
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology