How are facial nerves repaired?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: Tang Ho, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Today, several different procedures are available for repair of the facial nerve, including direct repair, cable nerve grafting, and nerve crossover techniques. Facial nerve decompression for cases of intact but damaged nerves and procedures of facial reanimation distinct from the repair of the facial nerve are discussed elsewhere (see Dynamic Reanimation for Facial Paralysis). [4, 5]

Active research continues to find ways to improve the results of treating facial nerve injuries. These include advances in the molecular biology of nerve regeneration and improved techniques of repair. A variety of neurotrophic and neurotropic factors have been investigated for their effects on the facial nerve. In addition, humoral factors have been identified as having a role in facial nerve regeneration.

Newer techniques proposed as possible alternatives to suture repair include laser neurorrhaphy and tissue adhesive repair. Synthetic and biologic tubules have been created to provide a path for the regenerating axons, even spanning small gaps in the nerve. Although these have not been clearly shown to be superior to standard nerve grafting techniques, they remain important areas of investigation.


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