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Facial Paralysis Treatment

Facial paralysis is a term broadly applied to conditions affecting movement of the muscles of the face. Symptoms range from slight weakness to the complete inability to move one or both sides of the face.

Facial paralysis is most commonly caused by Bell’s palsy, but other causes include trauma, head and neck tumors, skull base tumors, brain tumors, stroke, surgery in the head and neck area, and presence from birth. Facial paralysis can make it difficult to speak, blink, swallow or smile.

When facial paralysis does not resolve on its own, there are therapies that may be able to help the problem.

Our facial paralysis team understands the significant impact facial nerve dysfunction can have on your daily life. Facial paralysis is a complex medical problem with a range of symptoms, causes, and management options.

Patients may experience symptoms such as:

  • Asymmetry of the face
  • Inability to create facial expressions (smiling, or frowning)
  • Inability to close the eye, dry eye, blurry vision, increased tearing, eye discomfort
  • Drooling or decreased saliva, abnormal sense of taste, difficulty eating
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Abnormal speech and swallowing
  • Tightness and spasm (often of the “unaffected” side of the face)

Depending on the patient's situation, further testing may be ordered, including imaging (CT/MRI), electrodiagnostic studies (EMG/ENOG), hearing test or corneal exam.

Treatment for facial paralysis is aimed at addressing the underlying cause, as well as immediate symptoms of paralysis. While facial paralysis can be devastating for the affected patient, a number of medical and surgical procedures can provide significant improvements in appearance, facial function and quality of life. For complete information we recommend a full consultation with a facial paralysis specialist.

  • Nerve transfers
    • Masseter to facial nerve transfer
    • Cross facial nerve grafts
    • Hypoglossal to facial nerve transfer
    • Deep temporal to facial nerve transfer
  • Gracilis free muscle transfer (Glanglis free flap)
  • Temporalis tendon transfer
  • Static slings/static suspension
  • Selective nerve or muscle resection
  • Eyelid weights
  • Eyelid tightening
  • Nasal valve correction, septorhinoplasty
  • Refinement procedures
    • Brow lift
    • Face lift
    • Blepharoplasty
  • Non-surgical interventions
    • Botulinum toxin
    • Physical rehabilitation