Post-Treatment > Facial Issues

Nerve graft experiences.


I am scheduled to have a nerve graft done,  to repair my left facial nerve, on December 12th. I had my original middle fossa done just over two years ago and my facial paralysis has gone from mild to severe (HB 5) over those two years.
Has anyone else had a nerve graft? What were your experiences?  Did you improve?  How long did it take before you started seeing improvement? Did you have PR or other therapy?

Hi Zan,
I had my AN surgery 8 years ago today actually,, my facial nerve was severed as the tumor was intertwined with the nerve. So I had the 12/7 nerve graft 4 days later.

I did not have any sort of therapy afterwards,, it may have been helpful though if available. I had good results I believe. At resting you can not tell I have paralysis. I have good muscle tone on that side of my face which is really the main goal of this graft I believe. Without the graft the face would droop. When I talk  the corner of my mouth does not open fully so I speak “ like a pirate “ I always say,,,  I do not have a full smile. But there are other surgeries to recover your smile. This graft helped my eye to close better. I did have a weight placed in my eyelid for almost a year because it wouldn’t close correctly,, but that was removed.

I was told to expect improvements for 12-18 months. I believe it was around 6 months that I saw the first movement. It will be slow to you but have patience,, it will happen. You don’t want to try to “ force” movement too early..then you may encounter involuntary twitching known as synkinesis. It will happen in time. I seem to remember experiencing subtle changes even after 18 months.

All in all I am glad I had the graft ( would have preferred NOT needing it but,,,)  and believe I have good results. I do have some Botox shots done several times a year to ease some twitching around my eye. BUT I did not start that until years after graft. 
Good luck to you,,, I hope this has helped a little,,


Thank you Jane
This is all good info to have.
After the graft did you have total numbness on your paralyzed side?  Right now I have almost normal sensation even though I am mostly paralyzed on that side. My doctor told me to expect to have zero feeling or sensation for the first 6 months.

It’s been 8 years,,  ::),, but I’m sure there was initial numbness as the nerves regenerated,,, as I said,, there won’t be much difference right away in movement but due to the nerves being severed and reattached, the sensations will subside until they regenerate. But you should eventually get the feeling back close to what you have now.
Even now,, that side has feeling and sensation but not quite like the other side. It’s hard to explain,, but it’s a little like the subtle numbness after a dentist visit when given a Novacaine shot.
I’m sure with some time, you will be satisfied with your results.

Thank you!  It is beyond helpful to hear other people’s experiences.
I keep second guessing this and thinking about calling off the surgery even though I know that my facial paralysis is getting worse and this is the only hope that I have for regaining any movement.


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