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New Surgery Brings Back a Smile

By detaching, rerouting and reattaching a muscle used for chewing, surgeons were able to restore the ability to smile to seven patients with facial paralysis.

The procedure, called temporalis tendon transfer, is combined with intense physical therapy before and after surgery and could help similarly stricken patients right away.

"It's really a very doable procedure, and we're realizing how it can be done more simply," said study lead author Dr. Patrick Byrne, director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in the department of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "It's very applicable on a wide scale," he added.

According to the study, which appears in the July/August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, correcting facial paralysis is one of the biggest challenges facing reconstructive surgeons.

"People who smile are happier, and people who can't smile are depressed. It really affects the brain," Byrne said. "There's no question we've seen this in these patients. They are happier and more upbeat after having this procedure."

More information
There's more on this topic at The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

| Tags: Personality, Relationships, Skin and Beauty |

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