JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Quality of life after facial nerve repair.

Laryngoscope 2007 March
OBJECTIVES: Analyze the postoperative quality of life (QoL) in patients after surgical nerve repair for facial nerve lesion.

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive study using questionnaire data and medical chart review.

METHODS: Forty-nine patients answered the Short Form-36 (SF-36), the European Organization for Research and Treatment (EORTC) questionnaires QLQ-C30 and QLQ-HN35, and a modification of the Acoustic Neuroma Hospital of Norway Survey. Facial function was self-evaluated by the patients using the House-Brackmann (HB) scale and the Stennert index (SI). The questionnaire data were analyzed in relation to the medical chart data.

RESULTS: The follow-up time ranged from 12 to 202 months. The underlying disease was benign in 34 (61%) patients and malignant in 15 (39%) patients. Facial nerve repair was successful in all patients, with a mean HB scale of 3.1, a mean SI of 4.9, and a mean May grading of 2.7. The facial function self-evaluation was not significantly different. Seventy-five percent of the patients were satisfied with the operation. The SF-36 demonstrated a significantly lower social functioning, emotional role, general mental health, and vitality lower than in the normal German population. In the EORTC QLQ C30, emotional function was low and the insomnia rate high. EORTC QLQ HN35 showed a high rate of trouble with social eating, less sexuality, problems opening mouth, and weight gain problems. Age 45 years or older, female sex, May grading 3 or greater, SI self-assessment 5 or greater, HB self-assessment greater than 2 had a significant negative effect on some QoL items, but not factors such as type or histology of the disease or delayed reconstruction.

CONCLUSIONS: Although grading of facial function after nerve repair revealed satisfying results, the patients experience a reduced QoL.

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