A Rodent Model of Dynamic Facial Reanimation Using Functional Electrical Stimulation

Mark A Attiah, Julius de Vries, Andrew G Richardson, Timothy H Lucas*

*Corresponding author for this work

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Facial paralysis can be a devastating condition, causing disfiguring facial droop, slurred speech, eye dryness, scarring and blindness. This study investigated the utility of closed-loop functional electric stimulation (FES) for reanimating paralyzed facial muscles in a quantitative rodent model. The right buccal and marginal mandibular branches of the rat facial nerve were transected for selective, unilateral paralysis of whisker muscles. Microwire electrodes were implanted bilaterally into the facial musculature for FES and electromyographic (EMG) recording. With the rats awake and head-fixed, whisker trajectories were tracked bilaterally with optical micrometers. First, the relationship between EMG and volitional whisker movement was quantified on the intact side of the face. Second, the effect of FES on whisker trajectories was quantified on the paralyzed side. Third, closed-loop experiments were performed in which the EMG signal on the intact side triggered FES on the paralyzed side to restore symmetric whisking. The results demonstrate a novel in vivo platform for developing control strategies for neuromuscular facial prostheses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number193
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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