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This article is the author's final published version in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States), Volume 168, Issue 6, June 2023, Pages 1346 - 1352.

The published version is available at

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes of facial nerve repair or grafting following facial nerve-sacrificing procedures among patients treated with and without postoperative radiotherapy (RT).

DATA SOURCES: PubMed, OVID, Conference Papers Index, Cochrane Library,

REVIEW METHODS: Databases were searched using terms including "facial nerve," "graft," "repair," and "radiotherapy." Abstracts mentioning facial nerve repair and evaluation of facial nerve function were included for full-text review. Studies that utilized the House-Brackmann or similar validated scale for evaluation of postoperative facial nerve function were selected for review. All identified studies were included in a pooled t test analysis.

RESULTS: Twelve studies with 142 patients were included in the systematic review. All 12 studies individually demonstrated no significant difference in facial nerve outcomes between patients who received postoperative radiation and patients who did not. A pooled t test of data from all studies also demonstrated no significant difference in postoperative facial nerve function between the postoperative RT and non-RT groups (t stat = 0.92, p = .36).

CONCLUSION: This analysis, including 12 studies, demonstrated that among patients undergoing facial nerve grafting or repair, there was no significant difference in postoperative facial nerve function between postoperative RT and non-RT patients. Due to the small sample size and variability in study methods, further studies directly comparing outcomes between patients with and without postoperative RT would be beneficial.

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