Background: The purpose of this study was to document the 30-year experience of the authors' center in the management of developmental facial paralysis and to analyze the outcomes of microsurgical reconstruction.
Methods: Forty-two cases of developmental facial paralysis were identified in a retrospective clinical review (1980 to 2010); 34 (80.95 percent) were children (age, 8 ± 6 years) and eight (19.05 percent) were adults (age, 27 ± 12 years). Comparisons between preoperative and postoperative results were performed with electrophysiologic studies and video evaluations by three independent observers.
Results: Mean follow-up was 8 ± 6.3 years (range, 1 to 23 years). Overall, outcome scores improved in all of the patients, as was evident from the observers' mean scores (preoperatively, 2.44; 2 years postoperatively, 3.66; final, 4.11; p < 0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test) and the electrophysiologic data (p < 0.0001). The improvement in eye closure, smile, and depressor function was greater in children as compared with adults (p < 0.005, Mann-Whitney test).
Conclusions: Early targeted screening and diagnosis, with prompt specialized treatment, improves the physical and emotional development of children with developmental facial paralysis and reduces the prevalence of aesthetic and functional sequelae of the condition, thus facilitating reintegration among their peers. The experience of this center should serve as a framework for the establishment of accurate and reliable guidelines that will facilitate early diagnosis and management of developmental facial paralysis and provide support and counseling to the family.