Facial Nerve Repair
Microsurgical repair of the damaged facial nerve (7th cranial nerve) is the most effective procedure for restoring motor function (voluntary movement) of the face.
Reconstruction is indicated in patients who have experienced acute disruption or transection of the nerve from an accident, trauma, resection during extirpation of tumors, or inadvertent division during surgery. The most critical factor in achieving good postoperative facial function is early identification and repair.
If for some reason nerve disruption has not been reconstructed or the reconstruction is inadequate, it is possible to perform a delayed reconstruction. During such a procedure, scar tissue and neuromas will be removed. Identifying healthy nerve paths may necessitate histologic or microscopic confirmation during procedure.
The procedure can be performed as long as there is vital muscle left to rescue in the paralysed part of the face. It should be noted that repaired nerve fibres recover at a rate of 1 mm/day, meaning an injury 10 cm away may take 3-4 months (or longer) until muscle function is restored. Improvement in function may be expected for a period of up to 2 years.
Candidates for facial nerve repair
Candidates are patients who have experienced acute facial paralysis from an accident, trauma, resection during extirpation of tumors, or inadvertent division during surgery, where no nerve reconstruction has been performed or where nerve function was not restored.