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Original Investigation
Jul/Aug 2016

Emerging vs Time-Tested Methods of Facial Grading Among Patients With Facial Paralysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2016;18(4):251-257. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.0025

Importance  Most rehabilitation specialists and many facial reanimation surgeons use the Sunnybrook Facial Grading System (FGS) to measure and detect changes in facial function. The eFACE, an electronic and digitally graded facial measurement scale, was recently created to provide similar information to the Sunnybrook FGS, but with scaling uniformity across all categories of facial function, graphical outputs, and easy-to-use visual analog scales.

Objectives  To establish the correlation between the scores on the eFACE and the Sunnybrook FGS among patients with facial paralysis and to compare the reliability of the 2 scales.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A retrospective review of medical records identified 109 patients who were evaluated at a facial nerve center by physical therapists using the eFACE and the Sunnybrook FGS on the same day, between November 1, 2014, and May 31, 2015. The level of facial function predicted using the 2 scales was compared to study correlation between the scales. Data analysis was conducted from June 1 to September 1, 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Correlation between the Sunnybrook FGS and the eFACE grading scale.

Methods  Two independent physical therapists evaluated patients using both the eFACE and the Sunnybrook FGS. Scores were compared and the Spearman rank correlation coefficient was calculated between the total scores and each of the 3 subscores, including static, dynamic, and synkinesis scores. The total Sunnybrook FGS synkinesis score (worst score, 15; perfect score, 0) and static score (worst score, 20; perfect score, 0) were normalized to a 100-point scale with the eFACE (perfect score, 100; worst score, 1).

Results  eFACE scores ranged from 48 to 100, and Sunnybrook FGS scores ranged from 0 to 100. Among 109 patients, there was a moderately strong correlation between eFACE and Sunnybrook FGS scores in both total and subcategory scores. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient of the total eFACE and Sunnybrook FGS was 0.75 (r < 0.0001). For the static scores, the correlation coefficient was –0.71 (r < 0.0001). The correlation coefficients for the dynamic and synkinesis scores were 0.77 (r < 0.0001) and –0.78 (r < 0.0001), respectively.

Conclusions and Relevance  There is moderately good agreement between the Sunnybrook FGS and the eFACE. Given the ease of using the eFACE on mobile devices, as well as its additional functionality, it may represent a reasonable facial grading option across disciplines in the future.

Level of Evidence  NA.