Facial nerve damage during head and neck surgery has long been an important issue. However, few publications on the gross anatomy of the facial nerve are available in the young population. The aim of this study was to provide in vivo measurements of the facial nerve trunk during lymphatic malformation (LM) resection and to determine the association between the trunk width and patient- and disease-related variables.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of 11 consecutive pediatric patients (11 facial nerve trunks) who underwent cervicofacial LM resection. The facial nerve of the affected side was dissected, and its trunk width at bifurcation was measured using calipers under a microscope during the operation.
Eleven patients younger than 6 years were enrolled. The median width of the facial nerve in patients younger than 1 year was 1.15 mm; it was 2.5 mm in those older than 1 year. Trunk width was significantly greater in patients older than 1 year than those younger than 1 year, whereas no statistical significance was found when comparing other age groups. Patient weight was positively correlated with trunk width, whereas LM grade and diameter showed no significant correlation.
The significantly greater width of the facial nerve trunk in LM patients older than 1 year than those younger than 1 year suggests that the age of 1 may be a threshold for facial nerve hypertrophy and growth acceleration. This study provides informative in vivo data to help understand facial nerve characteristics in young patients.
From the *Department of Plastic Surgery, and †Department of General Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Received July 20, 2016, and accepted for publication, after revision October 24, 2016.
A.K. and J.-M.S. are co-first authors and equally contributed to this article.
Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: None of the authors has a financial interest in any of the products, devices, or drugs mentioned in this manuscript.
A.K. and J.-M.S. are co-first authors who equally contributed to this article and S.Y.L. is the corresponding author of this work and all of the 3 authors made substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; final approval of the version to be published; agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
This work is in accordance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki as a statement of ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects, including research on identifiable human material and data.
Reprints: So Young Lim, MD, PhD, Department of Plastic Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 81 Ilwon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 06351, Republic of Korea. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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