Free muscle transplantation for treatment of facial palsy - First experiences with the International Muscle Transplant Registry

M. Frey, D. Sing, K. Harii, L. Hakelius, Thomas R Stevenson, G. Freilinger, J. P A Nicolai, Ch Sings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Facial palsy is treated by many different operative procedures. In addition, factors such as the varying degree of paralysis, make postoperative comparisons difficult. The limited number of patients treated by free muscle transplantation at any one center also complicates evaluation of alternative treatments. This limitation has been overcome by development of an International Muscle Transplant Registry for collection, storage and analysis of data from different centers. As of June 1, 1988, 137 patients from 6 countries have been entered into the Registry. Significantly more USA/European patients had a congenital deficit and significantly more Japanese patients had a deficit resulting from surgery. According to a modification of the paresis scoring system proposed by Stennert et al. [3], USA/European patients also had a higher degree of nonsurgical facial paresis than Japanese patients. The most frequent preoperative treatment used in Japan was electrostimulation in 24% of cases, only 6% of European and American patients received this treatment. Evaluation of surgical procedures performed by the 2 groups of surgeons showed similar dimensions of muscle grafts used in the face, with a length of about 8.5 cm and a width of 3.4 cm. The extensor digitorum brevis muscle was the most popular, being used in 58% of European and American cases, whereas the Japanese choice was the gracilis muscle in 94% of cases. The length of the nerve graft used by Japanese surgeons was 6 cm, longer than that used by European and American surgeons. At this time, these preliminary data suggest evidence for paresis improvement in 79% of patients overall. Ultimately, the Registry should permit evaluation of the efficacy of different operative techniques and should influence experimental research and clinical application of muscle transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-218
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Facial palsy
  • Free muscle transplantation
  • International Muscle Transplant Registry
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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