Cranial nerve number seven (the facial nerve) is responsible for a range of functions. As the more common name suggests, the movement of facial features are controlled by this nerve. Raising eyebrows, blinking, eye opening, smiling and moving the lips are just some of the actions controlled by the facial nerve.
Movements associated with the facial nerve are either voluntary or involuntary. For instance, you may automatically smile when you read a funny story. This action is unconscious and a reaction to external stimulus. Other expressions or facial movements are performed deliberately, such as winking.
When the facial nerve is damaged, weakness occurs in one side of the face. You may slur when you speak or notice visible drooping in the cheeks. Other issues include the inability to open or close eyelids or a lopsided smile.
Identifying Facial Nerve Damage
At New York Facial Paralysis, we can use a physical exam to identify potential damage to the facial nerve. Tests include attempting various facial expressions in order to identify any affected areas of the face. Electromyography (EMG) or a nerve conduction study (NCV) tests are used to analysis nerve and muscle function.
Before treatment is offered, it is important to discover the root cause of damage to the facial nerve. Certain diseases, infection and inflammation can affect cranial nerve seven. In these cases, you will most likely need to take medication to effectively treat the condition.
You may need a surgical procedure when medications are ineffective in treating the facial nerve. Repairing the nerve is possible; however, nerve transplant surgery is also an option. Your New York Facial Paralysis specialist will recommend the most appropriate solution based on examination results.
Facial Paralysis Consultation
If you are experiencing any signs of facial paralysis, seek medical advice right away. There are a range of health conditions and injuries that can affect the nerves and muscles in the face. In most cases, treatment is fast working and effective.
To learn more about potential damage to cranial nerve number seven and how treatment works, call the offices of New York Facial Paralysis.