When it comes to problems with muscles, movement, and paralysis, it’s easy to think of issues with your arms or legs — but virtually any part of your body can lose the ability to move, including all parts of your face. While facial paralysis isn't as common as other types of paralysis, it can be just as bothersome or debilitating.
Board-certified cosmetic surgeon Robert M. Schwarcz, MD, is pleased to offer surgery to correct the effects of facial paralysis of all severities. Here, we explain more about this condition, including ways we can help.
Causes and symptoms of facial paralysis
Facial paralysis results from damage to the facial nerves that allow your muscles to function normally. This can unfold for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Infection or inflammation of the facial nerve
- Acoustic neuroma
- Bell’s palsy
- Head trauma
- Parotid cancer
- Tumors in your head or neck
The facial nerve contains thousands of nerve fibers, and each one carries impulses to a particular muscle within your face. When the nerve fibers are healthy, they allow you to laugh, frown, smile, chew, and speak with ease.
Facial paralysis can also cause your face to droop and lead you to drool, making it easy to feel self-conscious about your appearance.
Treating facial paralysis
If your face is paralyzed due to Bell’s palsy, your symptoms may diminish on their own over time. Many people with Bell’s palsy find that their symptoms improve within about six months, with or without treatment. If you’ve had a stroke, stroke treatment that aims to do away with a problematic blood clot may resolve your symptoms.
If your paralysis symptoms linger or stem from other causes, you may benefit from facial paralysis surgery. During this procedure, Dr. Schwarcz uses special techniques to re-suspend the drooped area of your face.
He can also pair reconstructive techniques with cosmetic techniques to make sure your face reverts to your desired appearance. You may benefit from facial paralysis surgery paired with Botox® injections, for example, to correct asymmetry or a related concern.
In some cases of partial facial paralysis, no surgery is needed. A treatment such as Botox injections combined with physical therapy may suffice. You could also try such a method first, resorting to surgery only if you aren’t fully satisfied with the results.
To learn more about facial paralysis or to discuss a treatment plan with Dr. Schwarcz, call the office convenient to you or request a consultation using our online scheduling tool.