Comparison of symmetry after smile reconstruction for flaccid facial paralysis with combined fascia lata grafts and functional gracilis transfer for static suspension or gracilis transfer alone

Jurij Kiefer, David Braig, Jan R Thiele, Holger Bannasch, G Björn Stark, Steffen U Eisenhardt
Microsurgery 2018 March 30

PURPOSE: Facial paralysis has a profound impact on functionality and esthetics of the oral region. In patients with strong skin laxity and soft tissue ptosis, functional smile reconstruction is challenging due to the accentuated asymmetry at rest. Thus, the purpose of the study was to analyze facial symmetry in this patient clientele following a combination of dynamic reanimation with fascial strips for static suspension compared to functional gracilis transfer alone.

METHODS: In 2014, we altered the single-stage approach for microsurgical smile reconstruction in patients with significant soft tissue ptosis by adding fascia lata grafts for static support. We evaluated 6 patients (mean age 57.8 ± 5.2, group A) who underwent the combined procedure, and compared their results to 6 patients with flaccid facial paralysis who were treated before 2014 and received a functional gracilis transfer alone (mean age 52.5 ± 7.5, group B). To test the efficacy of the technique, we retrospectively analyzed the correction of the oral asymmetry as well as nasal and philtral deviation by computer-assisted photograph analysis 6 months postoperatively.

RESULTS: The comparative analysis revealed a significant postoperative improvement of the oral asymmetry (A: 90.0 ± 5.0% relative correction at rest vs. B: 62.6 ± 17.2%, P < .05), nasal (A: 0.4 ± 0.2 vs. B: 0.7 ± 0.4 mm, P < .05), and philtral deviation (A: 0.5 ± 0.6 vs. B: 2.8 ± 1.8 mm, P < .05) in group A.

CONCLUSIONS: The combined procedure for dynamic facial reanimation allows for immediate correction of the oral asymmetry and improves overall outcome in patients with advanced soft tissue ptosis and oral asymmetry at rest.

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