Facial Paralysis and Facial Reanimation
Facial paralysis impacts many individuals and can stem from a number of causes. The physical and psychological effects of facial paralysis can be debilitating and may include the inability to close the eyes, drooping, and lack of expressiveness. At New York Plastic Surgical Group, a Division of Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, our nationally known Center for Facial Paralysis strives to bring life-changing surgical procedures to patients who experience facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy, tumor, trauma, stroke, infection, and other causes. Our experienced plastic surgeons utilize innovative techniques and advanced technologies to treat facial paralysis with the goal of facial reanimation. We offer personalized care to restore motor and sensory function while enhancing facial aesthetic.
Contact us to schedule a consultation for facial paralysis treatment at our Long Island, New York practice.
Facial Paralysis Causes
Facial paralysis can manifest for a number of reasons. The plastic surgeons at New York Plastic Surgical Group are experienced in treating facial paralysis due to many common causes, including:
- Tumor Tumors which grow near facial nerves, such as benign acoustic neuromas, can cause facial paralysis that may be acute or gradual. If a tumor is very close to the facial nerve, the surgical removal of the tumor may cause paralysis as the surgeon may need to alter the nerve in order to completely remove the tumor, especially in the case of a malignancy.
- Surgery In the process of dental surgery, skull surgery, or certain facial procedures, a surgeon may transect a facial nerve and cause temporary or permanent facial paralysis. This type of nerve damage may be inadvertent, or it may be a necessary part of a needed procedure.
- Infection Facial paralysis may result as a complication of an infection. Some infectious conditions that can cause facial paralysis include Lyme disease, Ramsay-Hunt syndrome caused by the varicella-zoster virus, Epstein-Barr (EBV), mononucleosis, and severe ear infections.
- Stroke A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Depending on the severity of the stroke and timeliness of medical treatment, mild to severe paralysis can occur and usually affects one side of the body and causes one side of the face to droop.
- Traumatic Injury A traumatic accident, such as a car crash, fall, or blow to the head, can cause facial paralysis. Paralysis typically occurs when the temporal bone is fractured.
- Bell’s Palsy Bell’s Palsy is an idiopathic facial paralysis condition that is identified by muscle weakness in one side of the face and is the most common cause of facial paralysis. Bell’s palsy is often caused by a viral infection which causes swelling or inflammation of the facial nerve or nearby temporal bone. Facial paralysis caused by Bell’s palsy is often temporary.
Facial Paralysis Treatment Options
The highly skilled plastic surgeons at New York Plastic Surgical Group offer a number of treatment options to improve function and restore confidence for patients with facial paralysis. Your surgeon may recommend one or more of the following procedures as part of your personalized treatment plan:
- Muscle Transfer The plastic surgeons at NYPS Group specialize in muscle transfer to repair facial paralysis. This process utilizes the patient’s own muscle, harvested from the other side of the face or the leg, to restore function to the affected region of the face. Muscle transfer can be effective for patients with paralysis in the upper, mid, or lower face and is particularly useful for rehabilitating the ability to smile.
- Neural Treatment Techniques A neural treatment approach involves repairing damaged facial nerves via microsurgery. This technique is often utilized to treat paralysis that is the result of traumatic injury, and it is most successful when performed promptly after the trauma.
- Nerve-Grafting Techniques A nerve graft places nerves from the functioning area of the patient’s face to restore movement to the paralyzed area. Following a nerve grafting procedure, a muscle transfer surgery will often be used to optimize facial reanimation.
- Eyelid Surgery With Gold Weights Facial paralysis often results in the inability to blink or close the eye, a complication which can lead to vision impairment or eye damage. A plastic surgeon can place a customized gold weight in the eyelid to create gravitation assistance to allow the eye to close.
- Tear Duct Surgery Patients who have facial paralysis that interferes with blinking may experience dry or watery eyes, which can lead to corneal damage. Tear duct surgery can be used to bypass tear duct blockages to drain excess tears or to block the duct to add moisture to the eyes.
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