JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Early gold weight eyelid implantation for facial paralysis.

Facial paralysis can result in serious keratopathy because of corneal exposure and inadequate lacrimation. Thirty-seven patients underwent thirty-eight gold weight upper lid implants to rehabilitate paralysis of the eyelid from various causes. When indicated, implantation was combined with lower lid ectropion repair, medial canthoplasty or brow lift. Because of encouraging results in patients with longstanding facial paralysis, "early" implantation (within 1 month of paralysis) was offered to patients with severe lagophthalmos in whom (1) a severe neural injury was documented at the time of transtemporal surgery or (2) delayed, incomplete return of function was expected. Gold weight implantation resulted in excellent eyelid closure, protection, and cosmesis. There were no infections or extrusions. Lagophthalmos and exposure keratitis resolved or were significantly improved in all patients, and most were able to dispense with eyedrops and salves. Visual acuity improved in 95% of patients--a benefit even those without preoperative keratitis often achieved. A mild worsening of one patient's pre-existing astigmatism developed, which resolved after reimplantation with a lighter weight. The implant is easily removed from those patients who, having undergone early implantation, eventually recover adequate function. Gold weight loading has become our procedure of choice for eyelid rehabilitation.

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