Facial Nerve Grafts

Director at CHC

Dr. Hammerschlag is on the board of directors and an active provider to the nonprofit, Center for Hearing and Communication, which has been been providing hearing care since 1904.

New York Super Doctor

Facial paralysis can result from multiple causes, most commonly from trauma, congenital malformation, tumor resection or Bell’s palsy. Early diagnosis is important, to rule out correctible causes and to act before facial muscle degeneration. In children, elective reconstruction can be considered after 2 years of age. The extent of paralysis, and patient history combined with clinical examination dictate the choice of treatment.

The anatomic arrangements of the facial nerve and facial muscles are complex, requiring a keen sense of microsurgical anatomy and significant experience in order to treat. The ultimate goal of reanimation surgery is to restore spontaneous animation and a balanced natural smile.

The surgical treatment of facial nerve injury can be divided into the following groups:

  • Facial nerve repair
  • Facial nerve repair with nerve grafting
  • Hypoglossal nerve transfer
  • Local (regional) muscle transfer: temporalis and masseter muscle transfers
  • Microvascular functional muscle transplantation


Dr. Hammerschlag has performed over 70 facial nerve grafts, which is one of the largest experiences with facial nerve grafting in the United States. He also works with a newly established multidiscipline group of physicians and physical therapists at New York University Medical Center Facial Nerve Center.

Please refer to post-operative care for Facial Nerve Grafts

Helpful References

Cohen, J.P., Lachman, L.J., and Hammerschlag, P.E.: Reversible Facial Paralysis in Sarcoidosis. Arch. Otol. Vol. 108, No. 12, 832-835, 1983.

Hammerschlag, P.E., John, E.R., Prichep, L.S., Berg, H.M., Cohen, N.L., and Ransohoff, J.: Intraoperative Real-Time Monitoring of Brainstem Facial Evoked Response (BFER), In: Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on the Facial Nerve, M. Portmann, M.D. (ed). Paris: Masson Publishing USA, Inc., 376-381, 1985.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Berg, H.M., John, E.R., Prichep, L.S., Cohen, N.L, and Ransohoff, J Real-Time Monitoring of BAER During Cerebellopontine Angle CPA) Surgery. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Vol. 95 No. 5 538-42, 1986.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Brudny, J., Cusumano, R., Cohen, N.L.: Hypoglossal Facial Nerve Anastomosis and Electromyographic Feedback Rehabilitation. Laryngoscope. Vol. 98: 405-410, 1988.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Breda, S.B., Cohen, N.L.: Intraoperative Monitoring for Preservation of Facial Nerve Function Cerebellopontine Angle Surgery: Proceedings VI International Symposium on the Facial Nerve. Kugler and Ghedini, Amsterdam, 1989.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Cohen, N.L.: Intraoperative Monitoring of the Facial Nerve in Cerebellopontine Angle Surgery. Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. Vol. 103: 681-684, November, 1990.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Cohen, N.L., Brudny, J.: Facial Paralysis Rehabilitation with Jump Interposition Graft Hypoglossal Facial Nerve Anastomosis and Gold Weight Upper Lid Implantation. Proceedings of the First Acoustic Neuroma Conference, Kugler and Ghedini, 1991.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Cohen, N.L., Brudny, J., Palu, R.: Management of Facial Paralysis with Jump Interposition Graft Hypoglossal Facial Nerve Anastomosis and Gold Weight Upper Lid Implantation Euro Arch Oto-Rhin. Lar. 137-39, 1993.

Hammerschlag, P.E., Facial Reanimation With Jump Interpositional Graft Hypoglossal Facial Anastomosis (JIGHFA) And Hypoglossal Facial Anastomosis (HFA). Laryngoscope 109, 2 Part 2. Supplement No. 90:1-23, 1999

Practice Announcement

Dr. Paul Hammerschlag has retired after a long and distinguished career. His friend and colleague, Dr. Darius Kohan, Associate Professor at NYU School of Medicine and Director of Otology/Neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and MEETH, will continue to manage his practice and provide continued care for his patients. Please contact his office at 1-212-472-1300 to schedule an appointment.

Please read Dr. Hammerschlags' full retirement and practice transfer announcement here.

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