The facial nerves are significant. They provide motor innervation to the muscles used for facial expression. Damage to these nerves leads to paralysis of the facial muscles, which results in muscular atrophy and weakness. Since there are different facial nerves for each side of the face, paralysis can occur on either one or both sides.
One of the devastating outcomes of facial paralysis is the inability to smile or express facial emotions. In some cases, patients also have functional difficulty with eating and speaking. Unfortunately, the condition is relatively common and can affect both adults and children. Thankfully, New York Facial Paralysis offers cutting-edge treatments for facial nerve damage.
Understanding Facial Nerve Damage
There are forty-two individual facial muscles in the face. We use our facial muscles to control our mouth, eyes, forehead and neck movements. When damage to a facial nerve occurs, control of the associated facial muscles is impaired or lost entirely. Its effect will vary, depending on the area of the damage. Common facial nerve damage symptoms include:
- Weakness of facial muscles
- Dryness or excessive watering of the eye or drooling of the mouth
- Inability to show expression (like smiling or frowning)
- Slurred speech
Common causes of facial nerve damage include:
- Trauma – skull base fracture, facial injury, birth trauma
- Infection – Lyme disease, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
- Bell’s palsy –The most common cause of facial paralysis, responsible for around 70% of all cases.
- Head or neck tumors
- Autoimmune diseases
- Metabolic – hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes (high blood sugar)
Facial Nerve Damage Treatment
Facial nerve damage treatment will vary depending on the cause and timing of the damage. Treatment with steroid medications such as prednisone is highly recommended for acute Bell’s palsy occurring within 14 days. Meanwhile, antiviral medicines, such as valacyclovir, are given to boost recovery.
Depending on the injury’s site, degree and timing, we may use a nerve graft to ‘plug into’ the branch of a normal facial nerve or the neighboring nerve to ‘borrow’ electrical input. Surgical treatment may include facial nerve decompression. Overall, a comprehensive approach is needed to balance the face.
Finally, if there is no viable muscle on the affected side, we may transfer muscle from another body part, such as the Gracilis muscle from the leg, to provide movement to the face.
If you want to restore your facial expressions, then facial nerve damage treatment is right for you. Contact us at New York Facial Paralysis or visit our clinic to learn more about this treatment or schedule an appointment. Our devoted staff will guide you through every step of the way.