Sometimes it is possible to restore microsurgically the continuity of the facial nerve. This can be accomplished though only when the nerve damage is recent or when there are no pre-existing nerve damages. When this is the case, in our Clinic for Plastic Surgery in Berlin we use nerve grafts, specifically the sural nerve from the lower leg, which after being harvested is sutured in the damaged area and consequently the continuity of the nerve pathway is restored. Occasionally though, when the nerve damage is caused from a central tumor (for example cerebellopontine angle tumors), this is not possible and a microsurgical connection to the facial nerve of the opposite healthy side is demanded in order to lead to the formation of new nerve sprouts from the healthy to the damaged facial side (photo).
Dissection of the facial nerv trunc on the healthy, intact side for connection to the damaged, unhealthy opposite side of the face.