Question: What is the effect of mime therapy on facial symmetry and severity of paresis in people with facial nerve paresis?
Design: Randomised controlled trial.
Participants: 50 people recruited from the Outpatient department of two metropolitan hospitals with facial nerve paresis for more than nine months.
Intervention: The experimental group received three months of mime therapy consisting of massage, relaxation, inhibition of synkinesis, and co-ordination and emotional expression exercises. The control group was placed on a waiting list.
Outcome measures: Assessments were made on admission to the trial and three months later by a measurer blinded to group allocation. Facial symmetry was measured using the Sunnybrook Facial Grading System. Severity of paresis was measured using the House-Brackmann Facial Grading System.
Results: After three months of mime therapy, the experimental group had improved their facial symmetry by 20.4 points (95% CI 10.4 to 30.4) on the Sunnybrook Facial Grading System compared with the control group. In addition, the experimental group had reduced the severity of their paresis by 0.6 grade (95% CI 0.1 to 1.1) on the House-Brackmann Facial Grading System compared with the control group. These effects were independent of age, sex, and duration of paresis.
Conclusion: Mime therapy improves facial symmetry and reduces the severity of paresis in people with facial nerve paresis.