Gracilis transplantation and temporalis transposition in longstanding facial palsy in adults: Patient-reported and aesthetic outcomes
Background: In longstanding facial palsy, gracilis free functional muscle transfer (FFMT) is currently considered to be the gold standard in smile reanimation. An alternative to muscle free flaps is local muscle transposition, with the temporalis muscle transposition being the preferred procedure, because of its direction of pull when transposed. The present study aimed to compare outcomes of gracilis FFMT neurotised by the masseteric nerve and temporalis muscle transposition in longstanding facial palsy using patient-reported and aesthetic outcomes. Methods: A cross-sectional comparison of gracilis FFMT and temporalis muscle transpositions was performed. Pre- and postoperative excursion measures were obtained. Patients were asked to answer a satisfaction questionnaire, quality of life questionnaire (FaCE scale) and a depression and anxiety questionnaire (HADS). Laypeople were asked to rate the pre- and postoperative aesthetic appearance. Results: Of 28 eligible patients, 10 gracilis and 12 temporalis patients participated. No significant differences were found between both groups in postoperative quality of life or depression/anxiety. Layperson observers judged the aesthetic appearance to be similar. Conclusion: In the present study, gracilis FFMT did not lead to superior quality of life and aesthetic outcomes compared to temporalis muscle transpositions. The facial nerve specialist should perform the procedure he or she expects to lead to optimal results for the patient.