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The Importance of Facial Expression and the Management of Facial Nerve Injury

Morgan Stuart, R. BA; Byrne, Patrick J. MD

Original Article
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Seventh nerve injury and resultant facial paralysis can be a devastating complication of neurosurgical procedures involving the cerebellopontine angle. In addition to affecting the obvious functional aspects of the seventh cranial nerve like eye protection, such patients experience a profound dysfunction of facial expression. This may be underappreciated by multiple specialists caring for such patients. This review discusses the importance of facial expression in human identity, communication, and social interactions and the effects of facial paralysis on the individual and the perception of the individual. Current and novel therapies for nerve rehabilitation and facial reanimation techniques are presented. Investigational efforts into future strategies for improving outcomes are discussed.

From the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Reprints: Patrick J. Byrne, MD, Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 601 North Caroline Street, 6th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21287-1910 (e-mail: pbyrne2@jhmi.edu).

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.