A rat model for intracranial facial nerve crush injuries

Ryan C. Burgette, Brent J. Benscoter, Gina N. Monaco, Matthew L. Kircher, Avinash V. Mantravadi, Sam J. Marzo, Kathy J. Jones, Eileen M. Foecking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective. (1) Explain the need for an animal model to study intracranial injuries to the facial nerve. (2) Describe various techniques attempted to identify and crush the intracranial segment of the facial nerve in a rat model. (3) Describe in detail a successful rat model of intracranial facial nerve crush injury. Study Design. Randomized controlled animal study.Setting. Animal laboratory. Subjects and Methods. Multiple attempts at surgical approaches to the cerebellopontine angle were attempted on cadaveric rats. Once a successful approach was derived, this was used on 19 live rats under anesthesia. Fourteen rats had a 1-minute facial nerve crush performed, and 5 had a sham surgery with complete surgical exposure of the facial nerve but no crush. Rats were followed for a 12-week duration evaluating immediate postoperative facial nerve function,complications, and survival. Results. All 14 (100%) rats that underwent surgery with crush injury had complete facial paralysis postoperatively. Complete facial paralysis was defined as loss of eye-blink reflex, flat vibrissae, and lack of vibrissae movement. The 5 sham surgery rats had complete facial function post-operatively. Surgery was performed by 2 separate surgeons with no difference in outcome between the 2. Complications occurred in only 1 animal (1/19, 5.3%), which was a corneal abrasion requiring sacrifice. Conclusion. Our group describes a consistent method for performing an intracranial crush injury in the rat. This new model and its applications in translational facial nerve research are promising, particularly with tumors or lesions at the cerebellopontine angle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-330
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Cerebellopontine angle
  • Crush injury
  • Facial nerve
  • Facial paralysis
  • Intracranial
  • Rat animal model
  • Skull base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A rat model for intracranial facial nerve crush injuries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this