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LEPROSY AFFECTS FACIAL NERVES IN A SCATTERED DISTRIBUTION FROM THE MAIN TRUNK TO ALL PERIPHERAL BRANCHES AND NEUROLYSIS IMPROVES MUSCLE FUNCTION OF THE FACE

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  • 1 Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Division of Anesthesia B, Department of Anesthesiology, and Clinical Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology of the University of Vienna, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, Vienna General Hospital, Vienna, Austria; Green Pasture Hospital, Pokhara, Nepal; Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Department of Histopathology, Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas School of Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Current literature rejects nerve release in leprous facial neuropathy and states that lesions are restricted to the peripheral zygomatic branches. Since there are approximately 500,000 patients with this disease throughout the world, we wanted to clarify the precise location of facial nerve’s affection and the benefit of neurolysis. Our study showed that in patients with leprosy, the facial nerve’s main trunk, the peripheral zygomatic branches, and all other branches were affected. Follow-up showed improvement in lagophthalmos and in misreinnervation, with no improvement in the control cohort. Nerve release improves muscle function in leprous facial neuropathy, provided surgery is performed on all affected segments. Intraoperative electroneurodiagnostics is an effective tool for detecting the most proximal site of lesion and ensuring effective surgery.

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