Background: Lengthening temporalis myoplasty
(LTM) and cross-face nerve graft with free gracilis muscle
transfer (CFNG-FGMT) are the 2 most common procedures used to restore dynamic facial animation and improve facial symmetry. There has not been direct comparison or consensus. Here, the authors compare our experience with respect to muscle activity, symmetry, and excursion.
A retrospective review was performed of patients with facial palsy
who had CFNG-FGMT or LTM from 2008 to 2016 at a single institution. Postoperative surface EMG was recorded at maximum open smile. Normal and paralyzed sides of the face were analyzed with Facial Assessment by Computer Evaluation software. Commissure excursion and symmetry was assessed.
Six patients with LTM and 10 with CFNG-FGMT met inclusion criteria. Muscle activity was 1st identified in LTM patients after 3 months (47.42 mV, P
< 0.001) and CFNG-FGMT patients after 3 months (28.30 mV, P
< 0.001) compared to immediate postoperative period. Relative to preoperative excursion, there was significant increase of 3.33 mm in commissure excursion seen at the 0 to 3 month period for LTM patients (P
= 0.04). Commisure excursion for CFNG-FGMT was seen later, in the 3- to 6-month postoperative period (4.01, P
= 0.024). During smile, CFNG-FGMT patients had better symmetry than unilateral LTM patients. In bilateral LTM patients, there was no significant change in symmetry.
Dynamic facial animation improved in both surgical groups. The LTM demonstrates a faster rate of muscle recruitment compared to CFNG-FGMT. After 3 months, both LTM and CFNG-FGMT groups had comparable excursions. A decision-making algorithm is presented.