Single session of brief electrical stimulation immediately following crush injury enhances functional recovery of rat facial nerve

Eileen M. Foecking, Keith N. Fargo, Lisa M. Coughlin, James T. Kim, Sam J. Marzo, Kathryn J. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Peripheral nerve injuries lead to a variety of pathological conditions, including paresis or paralysis when the injury involves motor axons. We have been studying ways to enhance the regeneration of peripheral nerves using daily electrical stimulation (ES) following a facial nerve crush injury. In our previous studies, ES was not initiated until 24 h after injury. The current experiment tested whether ES administered immediately following the crush injury would further decrease the time for complete recovery from facial paralysis. Rats received a unilateral facial nerve crush injury and an electrode was positioned on the nerve proximal to the crush site. Animals received daily 30 min sessions of ES for 1 d (day of injury only), 2 d, 4 d, 7 d, or daily until complete functional recovery. Untreated animals received no ES. Animals were observed daily for the return of facial function. Our findings demonstrated that one session of ES was as effective as daily stimulation at enhancing the recovery of most functional parameters. Therefore, the use of a single 30 min session of ES as a possible treatment strategy should be studied in human patients with paralysis as a result of acute nerve injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 11 2012



  • Electrical stimulation
  • Facial nerve
  • Facial paralysis
  • Functional recovery
  • Injury
  • Motoneuron
  • Peripheral nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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