Contralateral reinnervation of midline muscles in nonidiopathic facial palsy

H Jacobus Gilhuis, Carien H G Beurskens, Joost de Vries, Henri A M Marres, Ed H M Hartman, Machiel J Zwarts
Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society 2003, 20 (2): 151-4
The purpose of this study was to analyze contralateral reinnervation of the facial nerve in eight patients with complete facial palsy after surgery or trauma and seven healthy volunteers. All patients had contralateral reinnervation of facial muscles as demonstrated by electrical nerve stimulation versus none of the control subjects. Four patients had facial muscle movements at the site of the damaged nerve. In one patient this was entirely the result of contralateral reinnervation, whereas the other three patients had innervation both ipsilaterally and contralaterally. This implies that renewed facial muscle activity should be examined considering the origin of the reinnervation, either contralateral or ipsilateral. Contralateral reinnervation is a common phenomenon after total facial palsy and can occur alongside ipsilateral reinnervation. It can be mistaken for adequate reinnervation of the damaged nerve, causing postponement of dynamic reconstruction therapy.

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