A 37-YEAR-OLD woman who suffered severe head injury and total facial paralysis on the left side of her face was operated by a team of doctors led by plastic surgeon Dr Georgios Psaras at the American Medical Centre in Nicosia, it said yesterday.
The woman had been unable to move any part of the left side of her face following a severe head injury she sustained during a motor vehicle accident last September.
The highly complex facial reanimation procedure took place on June 26, the centre said.
During the operation, the team of doctors transplanted part of the woman’s right thigh muscle to her face. First, the muscle was removed from the leg, together with its blood and nerve supply. During the second stage of the procedure, the muscle was adapted to the face and the artery, vein and nerve were connected to those of the patient’s face under a microscope.
The entire operation lasted 10 hours. The patient was discharged five days later and movement is expected to return to her face in the coming months.
This was the sixth operation of its kind to be performed by this team of doctors in Cyprus in the past two years. There are only a few centres worldwide performing this reconstructive procedure.
Another similar procedure is scheduled to assist a young man suffering from congenital facial paralysis.
“Besides the obvious aesthetic, social and psychological sequelae of this condition, patients with facial paralysis have additional functional problems like speech impediment, swallowing impairment and often drooling from the corner of their mouth,” said a statement.
Dr George Psaras is the Medical Director and co-founder of the non-profitable organisation Smile Foundation in South Africa aiming to make a difference in the lives of children with facial anomalies. The Foundation’s patron is Nelson Mandela.