1 of 2
WHAT IS FACIAL PARALYSIS?
The paralysis of the facial nerve is the interruption of the communication between the nerve and the facial nerve innervating the muscles, resulting in a functional deficiency.
The cranial nerve VII controls most of the muscles of the face: it allows the front to move, the eyelid to close and the mouth to smile. It also controls the salivary glands, the tears and is responsible for taste sensation felt on the tongue.
In case of paralysis, the tissues of the affected half of the face are no longer supported by the underlying musculature, and therefore yield: the forehead, eyebrow, cheek, lips, and the submandibular region tend to slide down. The functions of spontaneous closure of the eyelids and involuntary blink, vital for the lubrication of the eye, are lost.
A cardinal sign of facial paralysis is the lagophthalmos, which is the incomplete closure of the eyelids with constant exposure to the white surface of the eye (sclera), even while the patient sleeps.
The toneless cheek makes it difficult to eat and in addition inhibits the proper use of language.
THE MOST OBVIOUS SYMPTOMS OF FACIAL PARALYSIS ARE:
- Inability to close the eye, resulting in dryness, tearing, abrasions, corneal ulcers and pain.
- Paralytic ectropion (eyelid eversion).
- Lack of muscle contraction in the affected half of the face.
- Facial asymmetry.
- A fall on one side of the corner of the mouth with speech and chewing difficulties.
- Lack of expression in the affected half of the face.
CAN I UNDERGO SURGERY FOR FACIAL PARALYSIS?
Facial paralysis is a debilitating disease from a functional, aesthetic and psychological point of view
Patients turn to the oculoplastic surgeon because:
- They have difficulty accepting the appearance of their face, which takes away their self-confidence and affects their social life.
- They complain of aches and pains associated with incorrect eyelid position: the ocular surface is constantly exposed to external agents causing pain, redness and sometimes becomes ulcerated.
- Asymmetry of the face and eyes is often hard to accept emotionally and aesthetically, may cause pain and a feeling of heaviness in the healthy part of the face.
WHAT DOES THE SURGERY FOR FACIAL PARALYSIS CONSIST OF?
- Medical treatment: lubricating drops, creams or therapeutic contact lenses. These measures can only reduce the symptoms of irritation which is caused by failure to close the eyelid.
- Surgical Treatment: a range of surgical procedures which can be personalised to the patient.
Insertion of gold weight in the upper eyelid: improves mechanical eyelid closing. This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic.
- Medial canthoplasty associated with side canthopexy – canthoplasty: this results in a good stabilisation of the lower eyelid margin at the desired height. It is performed under local anaesthetic.
- Eyebrow lifting : in the case of eyebrow ptosis this procedure allows a lifting of the eyebrow without affecting other structures of the mid-face. It is performed under local anaesthetic.
- Mid-face lifting: this procedure improves the position of the cheekbone and the lower eyelid. It is performed under local anaesthetic with sedation.
The operation will be adapted to the individual to preserve a natural look, reflect the patient’s personality and the individuality of his/her image. This will be discussed at the pre-surgical interview
WHAT CAN I EXPECT? WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF THE SURGERY FOR FACIAL PARALYSIS?
Each patient will talked through and advised on the most suitable and innovative surgical treatments, based on the most up-to-date guidelines from the international surgical associations
Surgery can result in a significant improvement of defects.
- The result is an improvement in the symmetry of the face and eyes with the patient regaining facial balance and better proportions to the face.
- The procedure reduces the symptoms of exposure, such as constant eye redness, discomfort, burning, and intense tearing.
- The procedure reduces the risk of severe complications, such as corneal abrasions and ulcers.
All the photographs and videos have been made by Dr. Carlo Graziani with authorisation by the very same patiences. It is forbidden to copy or reproduce in any form and for any other use all the contents found on the our web site. All rights are reserved. Dr. Carlo Graziani 2020.