Moebius syndrome is a rare facial paralysis disorder characterized by weakness or paralysis (palsy) of multiple cranial nerves, most often the 6th (abducens) and 7th (facial) nerves. Other cranial nerves are sometimes affected. The disorder is present at birth (congenital). If the 7th nerve is involved, the individual with Moebius syndrome is unable to smile, frown, pucker the lips, raise the eyebrows, or close the eyelids. If the 6th nerve is affected, the eye cannot turn outward past the midline.

On Tuesday 12th of December 2017, a rare operation was performed at the Saint-Martin clinic in Caen in France: an intervention on children with Mœbius syndrome, a type of facial paralysis, which prevents them from smiling.


Dr Labbé and his patient before the operation

“After the operation, I shall smile.” In his own words, Mathys Marie, 8 years old, explains the operation he is about to undergo. Since his birth, he suffers from the syndrome of Mœbius, a rare facial paralysis that prevents him from smiling and reduces his field of vision.

After the operation, I shall smile for the first time – Mathys, 8 years old

In the hospital room, Coraline, her mother who accompanies him is of course stressed, but also relieved. “We waited 4 and a half years – Mathys was even bullied at school,” she says, “he did not want to go anymore, he did not have any friends!

Professor Daniel Labbé performed the operation. As a plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, he specialized in different types of facial paralysis.

Twenty years ago, he developed a new surgical technique for these facial palsies and treated 30 children suffering from Mœbius syndrome in his career.

The technique? a transfer of the right muscle

Dr Labbé’s technique? The technique addresses a muscle that is normally used to chew – located at the temple area of the face and contracts when you squeeze the teeth. This method requires rehabilitation work that begins even before the operation and continues several months later.

Moebius syndrome is a rare disease affecting 1 child per 100,000 births. Several practitioners from all over the world (United States, England, Poland, Belgium …) have come to attend the operation in order to benefit from the skills developed by Dr Labbé over the years. These doctors were able to attend the operation thanks to the platform, which is a platform connecting physicians for medical training between Peers.

Dr Labbé opens his Operating Room to his colleagues from all over the world

An approach that is part of a genuine desire for training and communication of Professor Labbé. He wants to create the first center around facial paralysis in France to accommodate professionals from different medical and paramedical fields.

Find out more about the Labbé technique, surgery which aims to improve facial symmetry both at rest and when smiling.

Next training available with Dr Daniel Labbé is scheduled on the 6th and 7th of February 2018. For details and Registration, click here

Blog article inspired and partly translated from the original article published in “Tendance Ouest” on December 12th by Marie-Charlotte Nouvellon

Posted by Julien Delpech

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