Facial paralysis can result from various medical conditions such as stroke, trauma, or cancer treatment. It can cause functional difficulty in opening or closing the eyelid in addition to aesthetic concerns. Paralysis can be temporary or permanent but depending on the severity, surgical intervention may be necessary to restore movement to the face.
Facial nerve paralysis could be devastating and even debilitating to the patient. There are five branches of the facial nerve and any one, or all of them, could be damaged, thus severing input and function to that part of the face.
Goals of Reconstruction
Some of the most advanced surgical techniques are performed to help patients recover from facial paralysis to regain their facial movement. There are several options for patients, depending on the degree of the facial paralysis.
Facial paralysis reconstruction will hopefully result in dynamic facial movement, symmetry at rest, and full eyelid function. There are both non-surgical and surgical options.
Causes of Facial Paralysis
Facial nerve disorders can cause nerve paralysis, hemifacial spasm, and synkinesis. Many things can cause facial paralysis; however, Bell’s palsy, trauma, acoustic neuroma, and parotid cancer are most prevalent.
The facial nerve contains thousands of individual nerve fibers, with each fiber carrying impulses to a certain muscle in the face. This allows for facial expressions, such as laughing, smiling, and frowning.
Facial paralysis surgery
Facial paralysis surgery is performed to re-suspend the fallen part of the face and creating surgical flaps and slings. Reconstructive surgical intervention can be combined with cosmetic surgical techniques to address cosmetic concerns. Non-surgical procedures can also be combined with facial paralysis surgery in some instances. For example, botox may be used in conjunction with facial paralysis surgery to address a specific concern and create asymmetry in the face.
Facial reanimation corrects facial paralysis surgically. This may include muscle transfers or nerve grafting.
Hemifacial spasm is a disorder that typically causes the muscles on one side of the face to contract. Usually it begins with a nerve twitching, slowly moving through the facial muscles. This may lead the face to be pulled to one side, but in time can affect both sides of the face.
Although there are several treatment options, often times Botox can be injected into the affected areas to prohibit twitching. Surgical treatment is another option.
Partial Paralysis with Synkinesis
The best treatment for partial paralysis includes Botox injections to improve facial coordination in conjunction with physical therapy. When these methods are not helpful, surgery may present another solution.
Surgery to Correct Facial Palsy
Paralysis can be caused by dysfunction of the facial nerve. This may affect muscles, eye and skin. Specialized surgery helps to restore appearance and function.
Facial paralysis may result in difficult raising the eyebrows, closing eyes, trouble eating and drinking, and the inability to smile. However, depending on the nature and severity of the paralysis, several static and dynamic procedures may be done to help alleviate the issues.