Moebius syndrome, a rare congenital disorder of varying severity, involves multiple cranial nerves and is characterised predominantly by bilateral or unilateral paralysis of the facial and abducens nerves. Facial paralysis causes inability to smile and bilabial incompetence with speech difficulties, oral incompetence, problems with eating and drinking, including pocketing of food in the cheek and dribbling, as well as severe drooling. Other relevant clinical findings are incomplete eye closure and convergent strabismus. The authors report on 48 patients with Moebius and Moebius-like syndromes seen from 2003 to September 2007 (23 males and 25 females, mean age 13.9 years). In 20 cases a reinnervated gracilis transplant was performed to re-animate the impaired sides of the face. In this series, all free-muscle transplantations survived the transfer, and no flap was lost. In 19 patients complete reinnervation of the muscle was observed with an excellent or good facial symmetry at rest in all patients and whilst smiling in 87% of cases. In conclusion, according to the literature, the gracilis muscle free transfer can be considered a safe and reliable technique for facial reanimation with good aesthetic and functional results.
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