Background: Eighteen months is usually considered the cutoff time within which recovery of the mimic muscle remains possible using facial nerve cooptation. Few reports on the use of cooptation after this interval have appeared. Purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of this procedure also after 22 months. Methods: Six patients treated via crossfacial nerve grafting between healthy and paralyzed middle and middle-upper facial nerve branches and masseteric cooptation of the main trunk of the paralyzed facial nerve between 20 and 24 months after the onset of palsy were analyzed. Population consisted of two males and four females ages 8-42 years (mean 24 years). Facial palsy developed after acoustic neuroma resection in three patients, after the removal of a cerebellopontine angle astrocytoma in one, and as a consequence of Bell's palsy or cerebral hemorrhage in the other two (one each). House-Brackman and Sunnybrook clinical evaluation systems and FDI questionnaire were used to assess results. Results: House-Brackman scores changed from VI before the operation for all patients to II for two patients and III for four patients. Sunnybrook scores were 0-10 before the operation, but 62-84 at the last visit. Mean FDI scores moved from 24 to 38.5 meaning a statistical high significant improvement (P < .01). Conclusions: Masseteric/crossfacial nerve grafting is feasible for patients with palsies 20-24 months in duration, affording satisfactory functional and esthetic results and a dramatic improvement in quality of life.
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