Impact of lower motor neurone facial palsy on oro-motor function and its remediation.


Dept. of Plastic Surgery, Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Lower motor neurone facial paralysis (LMNFP) is often viewed by the general public and wider non-facial palsy fraternity as a cosmetic issue rather than a functional one. In this article, we sought to determine the severity and frequency of oro-motor dysfunction in LMNFP and assess the benefits of physical therapy and rehabilitation in this cohort.
METHODS : A prospective study at our institute was conducted for a one-year period (2015-2016), involving adult patients with LMNFP with significant oro-motor dysfunction. The exclusion criteria were (i) pre-existing oro-motor dysfunction, (ii) within six months of facial palsy onset. The assessment tools used were (i) The Facial Disability Index (FDI), (ii) IPREDD or Inventory of Patient-Reported Eating and Drinking Dysfunction for mastication and (iii) a bespoked Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) based on focus group discussions.
RESULTS : Of the 183 new clinic referrals, FDI identified that 14% of patients with LMNFP had significant oro-motor dysfunction. IPREDD analysis showed that 74% of this cohort had masticatory problems, while the VAS indicated significant oro-motor dysfunction as well in those with LMNFP. Following speech and facial therapy, IPREDD-focused symptoms were reduced from 74% to 43% (shown to be significant), while VAS similarly showed a significant reduction in symptoms (two-tailed, paired Student's t-test p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS : Oro-motor function is a significant sequel of facial paralysis. Facial rehabilitation, both physical and psychological, can help reduce patients' distress and improve oro-motor function, without the need for surgical intervention in the first instance.


Facial palsy,Facial therapy,Orofacial dysfunction,