Blink Restoration in Long-standing Facial Paralysis: Use of Free Neurovascular Platysma Transfer

Paul J Guelinckx
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Global Open 2018, 6 (10): e1939

Background: Since 2004, microneurovascular platysma transfer has been used for dynamic eye closure in long-standing facial palsy. The idea was initially presented by Lee and Terzis in 1984 but abandoned owing to its transfer difficulty. This muscle transfer allows forceful closure and blink restoration.

Methods: This study included 24 patients operated between 2004 and 2014 for long-standing facial palsy. In the first step of the procedure, a cross-facial nerve graft was employed to transfer the motor nerve fibers from the normal side to the paralyzed side responsible for eye closure. Simultaneously, a dynamic reanimation of the mouth was conducted. After 9 months, a 4 × 9-cm platysma was transferred on its neurovascular pedicle. Revascularization was performed on the temporal vessels. Nerve coaptation between the cross-facial nerve graft and motor nerve of the platysma was also performed.

Results: Twenty-one (88%) newly reconstructed orbicularis oculis displayed a good to excellent function. In 62% of the patients, a natural appearance and closure of the previously paralyzed eye and a return of spontaneous blinking were observed.

Conclusions: Compared with classical techniques (eg, gold weight implantation and temporalis transfer), platysma transfer is the only feasible method of restoring eye closure because of its special architecture and fiber-type distribution.

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