Lower facial reanimation techniques following cancer resection and free flap reconstruction

Laryngoscope. 2016 Sep;126(9):1990-4. doi: 10.1002/lary.25852. Epub 2016 Jan 25.


Objectives/hypothesis: Evaluate outcomes of the standard static sling and orthodromic temporalis tendon transfer reanimation for facial nerve paralysis.

Study design: Retrospective case series at a tertiary care hospital of head and neck cancer patients with facial nerve palsy secondary to malignancy or resection.

Methods: From 2004 to 2014, patients undergoing resection of malignancy that involved facial nerve palsy requiring facial reanimation were identified. All procedures were performed by the senior author (e.l.r.). Demographics, methods, revision rates, combination with other procedures, and complications were evaluated.

Results: A total of 77 patients underwent 92 procedures, with two patients requiring more than one revision, for a total of 20 revisions. Average time to revision was 9 months. Age, sex, race, side of repair, paralysis prior to procedure, sling type or method, timing of procedure, and radiation therapy were not significantly different between those requiring revision and those who did not. There was no difference in complications between patients who received radiation and those who did not (P = .5), nor between static versus orthodromic temporalis muscle transfer (P = .5). Complication rate was low at 5.4%.

Conclusions: Sling procedures can be successfully performed in patients with facial nerve palsy secondary to cancer resection with radiation therapy, with a low revision rate and few complications.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 126:1990-1994, 2016.

Keywords: Facial reanimation; facial sling; orthodromic temporalis sling; radiation therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Facial Neoplasms / complications
  • Facial Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / complications
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / surgery*
  • Facial Paralysis / etiology
  • Facial Paralysis / surgery*
  • Female
  • Free Tissue Flaps*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Temporal Muscle / transplantation
  • Tendon Transfer