Free transplant of gracilis muscle is the criterion-standard technique in dynamic rehabilitation of long-standing facial paralysis in which the facial musculature is atrophied.
When the facial nerve is not available because of a bilateral lesion, other sources are the masseteric, hypoglossal, or accessory nerves. Although the use of hypoglossal nerve has been relegated to the background because of the morbidity caused by its loss, there are special situations in which the hypoglossal nerve should be considered the first option as donor motor nerve.
The present article discusses the case of a patient with dynamic reanimation of bilateral facial paralysis with free-muscle transfer neurotized to the hypoglossal nerve.
End-to-side coaptation of gracilis motor nerve and hypoglossal motor nerve allows neurotization of the transplanted muscle with minimum repercussion in speech or swallowing and can provide an adequate spontaneous smile with time.
CITATION J Craniofac Surg. 2011 May 6