Facial paralysis is a very disabling condition. The eyelids do not protect the eye any longer and the mouth does not move normally during speech, eating and drinking. This leads to decreased vision, drooling and facial asymmetry. You don’t have to live with this! Facial reanimation can help you regain both function and symmetry. This can be done as a one stage or multiple stage procedure.
What should you know about Facial Reanimation
Facial reanimation can improve the position and function of the entire face. This is typically done 6 months after the start of facial paralysis, when there is very little chance of spontaneous recovery. However, any time the eye is in danger from dryness, surgery has to be done to protect it. Permanent eye damage and vision loss can occur without immediate treatment.
Surgery improves the position and the function of the eyelids and the cheek so that the patient can blink normally and close the eye at night.
Lower facial reanimation can be done at the same or at a later time and involves transferring a nearby functioning muscle to the corner of the mouth and the cheek. With little training, this provides good facial symmetry at rest and with facial expression.
Depending on each case, surgery can be done under local or general anesthesia. Bruising and swelling can be expected for a couple of weeks. Cold compresses are applied to reduce swelling and bruising in the first 48 hours. Antibiotic and pain medication may be prescribed for a few days. Strenuous activity should be minimized for several weeks. Warm compresses may be recommended after several days to increase blood flow to the area and promote healing.