Selective myectomy for postparetic facial synkinesis

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1991 Mar;87(3):459-66. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199103000-00010.


Synkinetic movements are secondary to facial palsy because they appear like a late sequela to spontaneously healing facial nerve injury. They are produced by an involuntary contraction of a muscle group simultaneous with contraction of other homologous muscle groups. The disorderly regeneration of severed axons is responsible for these movements. According to the Lippschitz theory, the regenerating nerve fibers sprout into the wrong peripheral branches. Between 1975 and 1986, 71 patients with facial paralysis were evaluated. Spontaneous recovery from the facial paralysis occurred in 28 of these patients; 14 (50 percent) developed synkinetic movements, and surgical treatment was sought by only 6 patients. In all patients, the lesion of the facial nerve was in the trunk, proximal to the principal ramification. The most frequent clinical finding was simultaneous activation between the orbicularis oculi and the elevators of the corner of the mouth (12 patients) or the elevators of the upper lip (2 patients). In 8 patients, in whom the slight synkinesis was not noticed by the patients, surgical correction was not necessary, but in the other 6 patients with severe aesthetic disturbances, surgical treatment for "disconnection" of the wrong impulses was realized. I obtained this "disconnection" through resection of the involved perioral muscle groups instead of paralysis of the orbicularis oculi. Follow-up of the 6 patients operated with the surgical treatment proposed herein for between 4 and 8 years has shown good aesthetic results without functional or aesthetic sequelae.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Facial Muscles / physiopathology
  • Facial Muscles / surgery*
  • Facial Nerve Injuries
  • Facial Paralysis / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Movement Disorders / surgery*
  • Muscle Contraction