Facial Paralysis, Regaining What Is Taken For Granted

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Facial Paralysis, Regaining What Is Taken For Granted
July 26
11:35 2016

Facial nerve paralysis is a condition in which the signal for muscles on one side of your face to contract are blocked or absent. It is usually caused by damaged or inflamed nerves, which therefore interferes with or hinders the brain signal process telling facial muscles what to do. These facial nerves can be damaged by several different factors, including Bell’s palsy, strokes, facial injuries, skull fractures, trauma, Lyme disease, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, sarcoidosis, brain tumours and strokes. Not only can facial paralysis affect the ability to communicate facial expressions, but other symptoms include difficulty talking, drinking and eating, eyes tearing up or being unable to close, dizziness, headaches, earaches and muscle twitching.

For those who suffer with this disorder, they should not despair as there are effective treatments for facial nerve paralysis.

Being treated by a plastic surgeon is absolutely vital to properly reconstruct your face. The plastic surgeon should not only have significant expertise with treating this affliction, but should also have microsurgical abilities and a deep understanding of facial anatomy, tissue transfer techniques and facial paralysis rehabilitation.

“A plastic surgeon with expertise in microsurgery will usually quarterback the team required,” Dr. Andreas Nikolis, a Montreal-based plastic surgeon explained. “Depending on the cause, different specialists will be required to intervene.” These specialists would include neurologists, ophthalmologists and rehabilitation experts.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), surgical procedures can supplant or restore injured muscles and nerves. Dr. Nikolis elaborated on these procedures.

“Usually, based on the timing of injury to the nerve, reconstructive options include: direct repair of the injured nerve, use of an adjacent or contralateral (normal side) nerves to innervate the muscle using nerve grafts, use of a new muscle that is harvested elsewhere and micro surgically placed in the region where the previous muscle is de-innervated; and use of a pedicled muscle from a region close by to substitute muscle function.”

Facial Paralysis, Regaining What Is Taken For Granted

Facial Paralysis, Regaining What Is Taken For Granted

“Other options include static placement of sutures to suspend the tissues for symmetry,” Dr. Nikolis continued. “You can use autogenous, like fascia lata grafts, or alloplastic (synthetic) materials, like acellular dermis.”

Dr. Nikolis also said that face and brow lifts are key for symmetry and tarsorrhaphy might be an option, which involves the placement of small gold weights in the upper eyelid to help it close, and lip shortening procedures.

“Static slings are very effective and leave the patient with good symmetry when at rest. Muscle flaps give good results, but require time for the face to become accustomed to the new muscle and usually do not provide 100 per cent symmetry.”

Utilizing synthetic tears during the day and employing lubricants in the evening are also beneficial for eyes when affected by facial paralysis, and patients might also be required to wear a unique transparent plastic moisture chamber to maintain eye wetness and safety.

In addition, 85 per cent of those who have Bell’s palsy will recuperate with or without treatment, yet using oral steroids (prednisone) and antiviral medicine significantly assist the possibility of a total recovery.

Also, physical therapy helps bolster muscles and averts lasting damage. Plastic surgery can also fix eyelids which don’t completely close and straighten uneven smiles for people who do not completely recuperate.

Dr. Nikolis concluded by stating Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin® are effective non-surgical treatments for those who experience unwanted facial movement, asymmetry synkinesis, as well as Bell’s palsy. An excellent outcome can be achieved with a doctor who has experience with this affliction and recognizes precisely where to make the injections.

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