Facial nerve transfer for facial reanimation with parotidoplasty approach

Chase J. Wehrle, Margaret A. Sinkler, Jimmy J. Brown, Edmond F. Ritter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Facial paralysis has a profound impact on quality of life in affected individuals, primarily through loss of verbal and nonverbal communication. Common facial nerve reanimation techniques include coaptation to the masseteric or hypoglossal nerve. Most techniques require nerve grafts to achieve a tension-free neurorrhaphy. Our report aims to show a surgical adaption to current facial reanimation procedures using a partial parotidoplasty approach in order to avoid challenges caused by interpositional nerve grafts through primary neurorrhaphy. Patients and Methods: The modified surgical approach was performed on four patients, aged 30–67. Length of paralysis ranged from 6 to 13 months. Cause of paralysis included one patient with Bell's palsy in one patient, prior surgery in two patients, and traumatic fracture in the remaining patient. A modified Blair approach is used to expose the parotid capsule. The facial nerve is dissected proximally toward the stylomastoid foramen and distally toward the masseter. The parotid gland substance is sectioned overlying each branch of the facial nerve using ultrasonic dissection or hemostatic scalpel, allowing mobilization of the proximal segment and upper and lower divisions of the facial nerve. The superficial lobe of the parotid is preserved in most cases. The House–Brackmann (H–B) functional scale was used to assess facial nerve function pre- and post-operatively. Results: All patients showed H–B score V or greater prior to reanimation. Follow-up was conducted at 3-, 6-, and 12-months in all patients with resultant improvement of H–B scores of I in three patients and II in the remaining patient. Only one complication was noted, with one patient developing a right postauricular hematoma that was adequately managed without sequelae. All remaining patients experienced an uncomplicated post-operative course. Conclusion: Our modified approach to facial nerve reanimation works well with a planned parotidoplasty allowing for successful reanimation outcomes without the need for interpositional grafting. This technique may be considered in masseteric and hemi-hypoglossal nerve transfers for the reinnervation of facial muscles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-873
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Facial nerve transfer for facial reanimation with parotidoplasty approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this