Evaluation of facial function has been the topic of much discussion.63-65 The definitive evaluation tool must be objective, sensitive to subtle dynamic changes and easy to administer, however this instrument has not yet been developed.
The adoption of the International Grading scale in 1984 established a universal measuring system, developed for the needs of physicians and surgeons.66 However, for the practitioner of facial neuromuscular retraining, the International scale does not detect the subtle changes that occur during the course of treatment.47 Other methods, such as measuring facial landmarks,67 and the more complicated facial grading systems,68 are cumbersome and difficult to apply consistently. The Facial Grading System (FGS) is a new tool currently undergoing multicenter trials. It is easy to administer and sensitive to small functional changes that occur during the course of treatment.69
Whatever tools are used, each muscle group must be evaluated to determine available volitional movement (excursion), spontaneous movement and presence of synkinesis/mass action.
There is no substitute for videotape evaluation as an objective measure of facial motion. Videotape captures sequential facial movements as they occur allowing the therapist and patient to review movements in detail and compare progress over time.
Patients are asked to perform specific facial movements using an established protocol (Table 3)68
RIS, ZYJ, ZYN, LAO, LLS
RIS, ZYJ, ZYN, LAO, LLS
OOI, DAO, DLI
|Raise your eyebrows
Bring eyebrows down and together
Gently close eyes
Squint your lower eyelids up
Close your eyes tightly
Smile evenly with your lips together
A big wide smile with your lips apart
Raise your upper lip while wrinkling your nose
Raise your L or R upper lip while wrinkling your nose (start with non-involved side)
Move the corner of your mouth back towards your ear (start with non-involved side)
Pucker your lips
Press your lips together
Pull your lips back and in over your teeth
Push your lips out as far as they will go
Roll your lower lip out and down
Turn the corners of your mouth downward
Pull your lower lip down to expose lower teeth
Tighten your chin
Tighten your neck
Table 3: Modified from Balliet R: Facial Paralysis and Other Neuromuscular Dysfunctions of the Peripheral Nervous System, in Payton OD (ed): Manual of Physical Therapy, Churchill Livingstone, New York, 1989. Used by permission.
Photographic evaluation allows the patient to easily compare one treatment session to the next. Because functional change occurs slowly, having photos in hand enables the patient to see small changes over time that otherwise may not be readily visible.
Patients should view photographs reflected in a mirror to preserve the relative position of the paralyzed side.
Patient self-assessment is an important aspect of the evaluation process because it provides insight into the patient’s self-esteem. Ultimately, it is the patient’s self-perception that determines the success of treatment.