Facial Paralysis

Illustration of nerve transfer procedure for facial reanimation.

Illustration of nerve transfer procedure for facial reanimation.

In addition to allowing us to smile, grimace, or frown, our facial muscles are needed to protect the eye, maintain an open nasal airway, and keep saliva in our mouth. Losing the function of these vital muscles leaves us with a facial droop devoid of expression, often with embarrassing issues with drooling and tearing. It is no surprise that the diagnosis of facial paralysis can be devastating and socially isolating to the patient affected.

At UC Health Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery we offer unique and cutting edge treatment opportunities available at only a handful of institutions nationwide. Our surgeons take exceptional interest in this condition, and are national experts in the field, authoring medical literature, pioneering new surgical procedures, and lecturing at national conferences on facial paralysis topics.

Facial paralysis may be congenital in nature, related to trauma or tumors in the salivary glands or skull base. Most commonly though the cause of paralysis is unknown, a condition broadly referred to as Bell’s Palsy. Treatment options are based upon the specific nature of a patient’s paralysis and may include both non-surgical and surgical strategies. Non-surgical options include specially designed physical therapy as well as Botox or Dysport treatments. Surgical options range from re-routing functional nerves to the paralyzed facial muscles, sling procedures, or muscle transfer or transplant procedures. Additionally, brow-lifting, eyelid lifts, and even facelift-like procedures can improve facial symmetry.