Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the outcome of different injuries to the facial nerve.
Materials and methods Six patterns of injuries (exposure, compression, crushing, stretching, division and post-division anastomosis) were produced in the buccal branches of the facial nerve in 60 rabbits. Electroneuronography (ENoG) and histology at definite time were used to evaluate the results.
Results and conclusions Exposure and compression injuries produced a neuropraxic injury and rapid recovery. Crushing and stretching injuries resulted in axonotmesis and whilst complete recovery can take place it may be very slow. Division and post-division anastomosis fall into neurotmesis injury and do not completely recover within six months; the former recovers slower and later than the latter.