Suprascapular nerve as a donor for extracranial facial nerve reanimation procedures: A cadaveric feasibility study: Laboratory investigation

R. Shane Tubbs, Robert G. Louis, Christopher T. Wartmann, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Mohammad R. Ardalan, W. Jerry Oakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Object. Facial nerve injury with resultant facial muscle paralysis is disfiguring and disabling. To the auhtors' knowledge, neurotization of the facial nerve using a branch of the brachial plexus has not been previously performed. Methods. In an attempt to identify an additional nerve donor candidate for facial nerve neurotization, 5 fresh adult human cadavers (10 sides) underwent dissection of the suprascapular nerve distal to the suprascapular notch where it was transected. The facial nerve was localized from the stylomastoid foramen onto the face, and the cut end of the suprascapular nerve was tunneled to this location. Measurements were made of the length and diameter of the suprascapular nerve. In 2 of these specimens prior to transection of the nerve, a nerve-splitting technique was used. Results. All specimens were found to have a suprascapular nerve with enough length to be tunneled, tension free, superiorly to the extracranial facial nerve. Connections remained tensionless with left and right head rotation of up to 45°. The mean length of this part of the suprascapular nerve was 12.5 cm (range 11.5-14 cm). The mean diameter of this nerve was 3 mm. A nerve-splitting technique was also easily performed. No gross evidence of injury to surrounding neurovascular structures was identified. Conclusions. To the authors' knowledge, the suprascapular nerve has not been previously explored as a donor nerve for facial nerve reanimation procedures. Based on the results of this cadaveric study, the authors believe that use of the suprascapular nerve may be considered for surgical maneuvers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-148
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Facial nerve injury
  • Neurotization
  • Suprascapular nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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