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Minimally-Invasive Procedure Treats Facial Paralysis, Study Finds

Minimally-Invasive Procedure Treats Facial ParalysisA minimally-invasive procedure appears to help in reanimating the lower face after paralysis, according to a new study in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. This procedure could help facial paralysis patients smile again.

“The primary goal of all facial reanimation protocols is to restore facial movement that is controlled, symmetrical and spontaneous,” the authors wrote. The technique involves just one small incision and no major modifications to bone in order to transpose a tendon.

The researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported a case series of 17 consecutive patients with facial paralysis who underwent the minimally invasive temporalis tendon transposition surgery for dynamic facial reanimation between 2006 and 2008.

“All the patients tolerated the procedure well, and none developed procedure-related complications,” according to the authors. “All the patients achieved improved symmetry at rest and voluntary motion of the oral commissure [corners of the mouth].”

For the best results, the authors said that physical therapy is needed as well. “The visible movement gained from dynamic muscle transposition does not translate into a spontaneous controlled smile without intensive neuromuscular retraining,” they wrote.

They concluded that to achieve desired facial movement “intensive physiotherapy and a motivated patient” are required in addition to the procedure.

Read the abstract of the study, titled “Minimally Invasive Temporalis Tendon Transposition,” online.

Dr. Lo is specially trained in advanced techniques for facial paralysis.

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