Nerve damage due to trauma or other conditions, such as Bell’s palsy, can lead to an inability to move the muscles of the face on one side or both. Facial paralysis can make it difficult to smile, blink, swallow or smile. Certain areas of the face, such as the brow, cheek or lower lip may also droop. This affects both your appearance as well as your ability to speak, eat, drink, and protect your eye.
Summa Health plastic and reconstructive surgeons have experience in the treatment of facial paralysis, which includes specific training in the structure of the head and neck region. Our team’s unique skills in surgical reanimation techniques can address paralysis of the face, including nerve and tendon transfers and microvascular surgery. We also collaborate with specialists from other areas of medicine, such as otolaryngology (ENT), ophthalmology, radiology and neurology, to create a personalized treatment plan.
Medication can often be used to treat facial paralysis. Interventions include botulinum toxin injection to treat uncoordinated facial muscle movements, as well as facial filler to even out any asymmetry within the face.
When a paralyzed facial nerve does not recover on its own or with medication, a number of surgical procedures can help restore movement and improve facial symmetry.
Some of these procedures involve moving facial nerves, tendons and muscles (or parts of them) from other areas of the body to the face. Surgical treatments include:
The recovery time for reanimation procedures varies depending on which procedure is performed, whether you have more than one procedure, your age and health, and how long your nerves and muscles have been paralyzed.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with a Summa Health plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The sooner treatment is started, the better the functional outcome.