There are millions of nerves running through your body. They tell you when something itches, hurts, feels uncomfortable, or when something feels nice (like a neck massage). These sensory impulses are highways where transmissions run back and forth to control movement and bodily reactions. The facial nerve controls the movements of the forehead, eyes, mouth, and neck. Because the face is symmetrical, there is a facial nerve on each side of the face to control the associated facial muscles of expression. Damage to the facial nerve leads to paralysis of the facial muscles, most often resulting in functional difficulty with speech, eating, and facial expressions.
The causes of facial paralysis are varied and include several etiologies. Medical conditions such as Bell’s palsy, stroke, head or neck tumors, and Lyme disease can all cause damage to the facial nerve. Autoimmune disease, severe ear infections, and injury are also well-known causes of facial nerve damage. People of all ages are susceptible to facial nerve damage, so there are no distinct preventative steps that people can take to avoid this condition.
People who seek treatment for facial nerve damage will be evaluated thoroughly to determine whether the damage is causing flaccidity or synkinesis.
- Flaccid Paralysis – there is absolutely no movement or tone on the affected side of the face.
- Synkinesis – paralysis that results from abnormal regeneration of the facial nerve after injury. If nerve branches regenerate and grow in the wrong direction to the wrong muscles, the result will be involuntary muscle movement. For example, when a person smiles, the eyebrow on the affected side lifts or vice versa.
The Facial Nerve Center at New York Facial Paralysis is led by Dr. Teresa O, a world-renowned surgeon specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of facial nerve paralysis. Our highly specialized team of doctors offers a multidisciplinary approach for treatment to meet the needs of each patient.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.