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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Restoration of paralyzed orbicularis oculi muscle function by controlled electrical current

G M Salerno, J N Bleicher, D M McBride
Journal of Investigative Surgery: the Official Journal of the Academy of Surgical Research 1991, 4 (4): 445-56
1777439
A canine model of facial nerve paralysis was studied to apply controlled electrical current to the peripherally denervated orbicularis oculi muscle, in the attempt to effectively restore the absent function of this denervated muscle. After unilateral facial nerve neurotmesis was performed in eight dogs, the denervated orbicularis oculi muscles of four dogs were electrically stimulated for 75 postoperative days (40 min/day). Denervated and normal orbicularis oculi muscles were electrophysiologically studied and compared with the Student t test. During the study period, minimum closure of denervated treated orbicularis oculi muscles was evoked with average stimulus strength (80-ms duration) of 1.61 +/- 0.22 log mA x ms, not significantly different from that of denervated nontreated or normal orbicularis oculi muscles. From days 10 through 30 only, maximum closure of denervated treated orbicularis oculi muscles was achieved with mean pulse strength (80-ms duration) of 2.37 +/- 0.09 log mA x ms, significantly lower (P less than .01) than that evoking the same type of contraction from denervated nontreated muscles (80-ms duration, mean 2.83 +/- 0.10 log mA x ms). In addition, denervated treated muscle pulse strength eliciting maximum contraction was not significantly different from that of normal orbicularis oculi muscles during the same period. This finding was not observed, however, from day 40 through the end of the study. This investigation demonstrates (1) the transient reversal of denervation changes of paralyzed orbicularis oculi muscle by daily electrical stimulation, and (2) the feasibility of restoring orbicularis oculi muscle function by controlled electrical current.

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