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15.12.2020 | Miscellaneous Open Access

Facial palsy in children: long-term outcome assessed face-to-face and follow-up revealing high recurrence rate

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Mervi Kanerva, Hanna Liikanen, Anne Pitkäranta
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To evaluate the long-term (minimum of 2 years from the palsy onset) outcome of pediatric facial palsy by patient questionnaire and face-to-face assessment by the Sunnybrook facial grading system, House–Brackmann grading system, and Facial Nerve Grading System 2.0. To compare the outcome results of self-assessment with the face-to-face assessment. To assess the applicability of the grading scales. To assess the palsy recurrence rate (minimum of a 10-year follow-up).


46 consecutive pediatric facial palsy patients: 38 (83%) answered the questionnaire and 25 (54%) attended a follow-up visit. Chart review of 43 (93%) after a minimum of 10 years for the facial palsy recurrence rate assessment.


Of the 25 patients assessed face-to-face, 68% had totally recovered but 35% of them additionally stated subjective sequelae in a self-assessment questionnaire. Good recovery was experienced by 80% of the patients. In a 10-year follow-up, 14% had experienced palsy recurrence, only one with a known cause. Sunnybrook was easy and logical to use, whereas House–Brackmann and the Facial Nerve Grading System 2.0 were incoherent.


Facial palsy in children does not heal as well as traditionally claimed if meticulously assessed face-to-face. Patients widely suffer from subjective sequelae affecting their quality of life. Palsy recurrence was high, much higher than previously reported even considering the whole lifetime. Of these three grading systems, Sunnybrook was the most applicable.

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