Facial paralysis can be a functionally and socially devastating condition. While there are many psychological and social considerations, identifying the cause of facial paralysis is an important first step in a patient’s care.
Facial paralysis can be a result of trauma, tumor, surgery, viral infection or unknown causes, and treatment varies depending on the cause. After the cause has been identified and treated (if possible), restoring facial movement and function should be the next priority.
Every patient with a new diagnosis of facial paralysis should be seen by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) if there is any concern for dryness, irritation or difficulty with eye closure. If the patient cannot close his or her eye, then eye protection and care is a priority and should be addressed. Treatment for poor eye closure can include eye drops, eye ointment, wearing a moisture chamber or taping the eye closed at bedtime.
Most treatments for facial paralysis are covered by medical insurance. Nonsurgical treatment may include oral steroids, antiviral medications, physical therapy and Botox® injections. Surgical treatment for facial paralysis may include upper eyelid implant surgery, nasal valve surgery, facial suspension surgery, facial nerve surgery and free flap surgery.
A consultation with a facial nerve expert is the first step in the assessment, treatment and recovery from facial paralysis. Call our office for a consultation: 314-996-3880.