In October 2015, John Blythe and Profesor Maurice Mommaerts hosted the ‘Facing Smile Surgery’ symposium at the Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Brussel ( Free University of Brussels).
The event focused on facial paralysis and contemporary facial reanimation surgical techniques, with the objective of restoring the patients smile ‘physically and mentally’. Dr Daniel Labbe, President of the French Association of Plastic Surgery, provided an interactive day on the lengthening temporalis myoplasty (LTM) through theoretical teaching interchanged with cadaveric demonstration. The role of neurotisation, lengthening levator palpabrae muscle and neural cross-over techniques to achieve reanimation of the eyelids and corneal sensation where also covered. The surgical outcome of LTM is highly dependent on patient motivation, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy. Dr Frederic Martin, a locopedist from Paris, provided valuable insight and training into the post operative steps necessary for patients to realise their full facial musculature potential. The first day was completed with a botulinum A toxin therapy workshop with two facial paralysis patients receiving treatment to correct facial synkinesis and improve facial and cervical symmetry.
Scientific committee – Dr Daniel Labbe, Mr John Blythe, Prof Federico Biglioli & Prof. Maurice Mommaerts (left to right).
To compliment the first day, the second day focused on free functioning muscle transfer techniques. Professor Federico Biglioli from Milan provided wonderful sessions on the gracilis and latissmus dorsi muscle flap techniques. The key steps and a review on a number of related cases were presented. Then the subtleties of harvesting and insetting of the flaps were artfully demonstrated. The session was rounded off by Dr Rafael Bos, a trainee at the European Face Centre, who provided a review of the contemporary literature.
This inaugural symposium proved a great success and inspirational for the many oral and maxillofacial, plastic and ENT surgical delegates attending.