Paralysis of the facial nerve
Paralysis of the facial nerve is a cause of significant functional and aesthetic compromise.
Functional concerns primarily involve adequate protection of the eye, with a real risk of exposure keratitis if not properly addressed. In addition, swallowing, drooling, and speech difficulties may arise. 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 ultimate goal of reanimation surgery is to restore spontaneous animation and a balanced natural smile. The most critical factor in achieving good post-operative facial function is early identification and repair.