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Neurosurg Focus. 2012 Sep;33(3):E7. doi: 10.3171/2012.6.FOCUS12198.

Neuroanatomical correlation of the House-Brackmann grading system in the microsurgical treatment of vestibular schwannoma.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California 94117, USA.


Avoidance of facial nerve injury is one of the major goals of vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery because functional deficits of the facial nerve can lead to physical, cosmetic, and psychological consequences for patients. Clinically, facial nerve function is assessed using the House-Brackmann grading scale, which also allows physicians to track the progress of a patient's facial nerve recovery. Because the facial nerve is a peripheral nerve, it has the ability to regenerate, and the extent of its functional recovery depends largely on the location and nature of its injury. In this report, the authors first describe the facial nerve anatomy, the House-Brackmann grading system, and factors known to be predictors of postoperative facial nerve outcome. The mechanisms and pathophysiology of facial nerve injury during VS surgery are then discussed, as well as factors affecting facial nerve regeneration after surgery.

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