Facial palsy is paralysis of the muscles of facial expression due to damage or incomplete development of the facial nerve. This results in an inability to produce facial movements on the affected side of the face such as smiling. Facial asymmetry may also be present at rest.
More significantly important functions such as eye closure may be affected, particularly in older patients, which can lead to secondary corneal damage and visual impairment if left untreated.
Am I a suitable candidate for facial palsy surgery?
Facial paralysis on the affected side may be total or be present as an incomplete paresis.
The most common cause of acute facial paralysis is Bell’s Palsy, caused by a Herpes viral infection. However, it may also be present at birth, as a congenital defect, affecting one or both (Moebius Syndrome) sides of the face. Other causes of the condition include trauma to the facial nerve, other types of localised infection or inflammation or surgery such as excision of certain types of tumours in the cranial region. These most commonly include acoustic neuromas and parotid gland tumours.
The treatment plan best suited to each patient depends on the underlying cause of the condition and the patient’s age and general health at presentation.