Background: Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) is a synthetic porous material that has been used for static suspension in facial paralysis. It is manufactured in thin (1-mm or 2-mm) sheets that can be cut into strips and implanted through keyhole facial incisions. Regional deformities are addressed by multiple suspensions that provide cosmetic and functional therapy. The use of ePTFE eliminates donor site morbidity associated with the traditional harvest of fascia from either the temporal area or fascia lata. However, properties unique to this alloplast contribute to the complications that have occurred after its use in facial reanimation.
Objective: To describe complications with the use of ePTFE for facial suspension.
Setting: Academic medical center.
Method: Retrospective chart review and review of literature.
Results: Six patients with facial paralysis who were treated with the ePTFE sling procedure had complications. Five slings failed because of stretch despite prestretching at implantation. One patient developed a late wound infection requiring removal of the sling.
Conclusion: An ePTFE facial sling is an option for static facial suspension that can be therapeutic for patients with seventh nerve damage. There is a high rate of complications leading to revision surgery. Future studies are needed to evaluate alloplastic alternatives to ePTFE.