Immediate eye rehabilitation at the time of facial nerve sacrifice

Tammara L. Watts, Rachael Chard, Stephen M. Weber, Mark K. Wax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective. In the setting of known facial nerve sacrifice or injury, patients require precautions to prevent exposure keratitis and the morbidity that follows. One recommended treatment is surgical placement of a gold weight with or without lateral tarsal strip. In patients in whom the facial nerve has been sacrificed, it is unknown whether rehabilitation should be simultaneous or in the perioperative period. Study Design and Setting. Case series with chart review of patients who underwent immediate rehabilitation of the eye (gold weight and lateral tarsal strip) following facial nerve resection. Subjects and Methods. From 1998 to 2009, 52 patients were studied. Postoperative ophthalmologic complications and the need for revision surgeries were measured. Results. A gold weight was placed in all patients, and 48 of 52 (92%) simultaneous lateral tarsal strips were performed. The facial nerve was sacrificed in 51 of 52 (88%) patients, and the remaining patient had a known preoperative facial nerve paralysis. Thirty-six of 52 (69%) required free tissue transfer for reconstruction, underscoring the extensive resections performed. A 1.2-g gold weight was placed in 50 of 52 (96%) patients. Three (6%) patients required gold weight revision with a larger weight and 3 (6%) for extrusion. Eight (16.7%) patients underwent revision of the lateral tarsal strip for ectropion. Conclusions. No patients developed ophthalmologic complications. Patients undergoing radical surgical resections with known or suspected injury of the facial nerve should be considered for simultaneous rehabilitation of the upper and lower eye.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-356
Number of pages4
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Facial paralysis
  • Facial plastics
  • Gold weight
  • Head and neck surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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