A functioning muscle transfer is intended to restore form and function to a patient's face in cases of unilateral (one side)
or bilateral facial paralysis. The procedure moves the gracilis, a less-used muscle in the thigh, to the face to correct facial
droop and enable the patient to smile more fully, and speak more clearly.
The gracilis muscle is transferred to the face and, through microsurgery, connected to blood vessels and a nerve. The gracilis
nerve can be connected to the masseter nerve on the paralyzed side of the face, or to a graft from the facial nerve on the
opposite side of the face. If the nerve graft is required, that procedure must occur six to nine months before the gracilis
is transferred, so it can establish viability.
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