As a form of facial paralysis, synkinesis can lead to the involuntary movement of muscles. This often results from a damaged nerve branch regenerating incorrectly. However, the condition can also develop due to the sewing together of nerves during a repair surgery.
The most common type of synkinesis is known as ocular-oral synkinesis, which occurs when the muscles that control the mouth also cause the eye on the affected side of the face to involuntarily close. While there is a visual element to how the condition presents, sufferers also experience other difficulties with day-to-day activities.
Eating & Drinking
One of the most noticeable functional problems that patients tend to encounter is issues when eating. The ability to chew and swallow can become limited due to involuntary muscle movements. In some cases, oral health issues can arise when the patient eats only on one side of the mouth.
Similarly, drinking involves muscle movements and coordination that is impacted by ocular-oral synkinesis. Sufferers may feel limited in the types of drinks they can enjoy, or drinking vessels they can use.
Smiling can trigger the involuntary movement of muscles in the eye, which is likely to impact self-confidence. The very awareness of ocular-oral synkinesis symptoms may cause sufferers to alter the natural smile, which further impacts facial aesthetics.
If you are suffering from facial paralysis related anxiety or depression, treatment is available in New York. Individual or combined therapies are used, depending on the nature and extent of the condition.
Physical therapy can benefit patients by retraining the affected facial muscles. Involuntary movements are reduced, while expected movements are improved. This process may also involve several strategies to increase desired coordination of the impacted facial features.
Botox® has been used as an effective treatment for involuntary muscle movements or spasms. Injections of Botox block signals to the muscles affected by Synkinesis. Symmetry of facial features is maintained by injecting the opposite side of the treatment area.
Selective nerve transaction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to relax the muscle response in the impacted eye. In other cases, muscle transfer is used to improve the movement and appearance of the smile.
To learn more about treatment of Synkinesis, book a consultation with New York Facial Paralysis today.