Objective: To quantify the degree of oral commissure resting tone improvement in patients undergoing masseter to facial nerve transfer. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was completed in a tertiary academic medical practice. Consecutive cases of masseter nerve transfer patients within a patient database were evaluated from 6/2012 to 9/2017. Inclusion criteria were patients >18 years of age, with complete unilateral paralysis, receiving a masseter to facial nerve transfer, with at least 12 months of recovery, and possessing complete pre-and postoperative data. Patients were excluded if a simultaneous adjunctive procedure was performed so that tone could not be attributed to masseter transfer alone. The main outcome measure was the facial asymmetry index (FAI): the measured difference in distance between the medial canthus and oral commissure of the healthy and paralyzed sides. Results: Twenty-nine patients met inclusion and exclusion criteria and were further analyzed for this study. The oral commissure symmetry improved from 4.7 ± 2.8 mm preoperatively to 2.2 ± 2.3 mm postoperatively. In multivariate analysis, the preoperative FAI was the only significant predictive factor for improvement in commissure symmetry at rest (r = 0.589). This suggests that for each 1.0 mm of worse preoperatively oral commissure asymmetry, the improvement postoperatively was 0.6 mm. Age, gender, body mass index, side of paralysis, duration of paralysis, and recipient branch of facial nerve were not significant predictors in a multivariate analysis. Conclusion: Masseter to facial nerve transfer yields an estimated 60% correction in the oral commissure asymmetry. This estimation may be helpful in determining if adjunctive procedures should be utilized.
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