Restoration of function in the paralyzed rabbit orbicularis oculi muscle by direct functional electrical stimulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Restoration of the ability to blink and protect the eye in the patient with facial paralysis remains a challenge. Although many treatments exist, no one approach corrects all the deficits associated with the loss of orbicularis oculi function. In this study, the author investigated the feasibility of restoring function by direct electrical stimulation of the paralyzed orbicularis oculi muscle in the rabbit model. Using a pacing device developed by the author, functional restoration of a normal-appearing blink was produced throughout 30 days of continuous pacing in six rabbits with transected facial nerves. Histologic evaluations of the paced tissues demonstrated no evidence of detrimental effects attributable to the electrical stimulation. The findings of this study support the feasibility of employing direct electrical stimulation to restore the function of paralyzed orbicularis oculi muscles. Potential applications may also exist in other areas in which peripheral denervation creates functional impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1997



  • Electrical stimulation
  • Facial nerve
  • Orbicularis oculi muscle
  • Paralysis
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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