PURPOSE: To estimate the spontaneous recovery rate of isolated traumatic sixth-nerve palsy. METHOD: A retrospective chart review over a 24-year period at a single institution, excluding patients who were first seen more than 6 weeks after injury, to reduce bias toward nonrecovery. RESULTS: The Kaplan- Meier survival estimate of spontaneous recovery at 6 months was 27% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5% to 44%) in unilateral traumatic sixth-nerve palsy and 12% (95% CI, 0%, to 33%) in bilateral traumatic sixth-nerve palsy. CONCLUSION: Spontaneous recovery from isolated traumatic sixth-nerve palsy may be lower than previously reported. A prospective study is needed to provide a more accurate estimate of recovery rate.
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