This program has been established to provide multi-disciplinary specialty care for patients affected by facial paralysis. This complex condition affects patients on many levels and requires an individualized treatment approach in order to provide optimal rehabilitation.

Facial Paralysis can cause or contribute to other physical problems such as:

 

  • Droopy lower eyelid showing red part of the eyelid and watery eye
  • Incomplete eye closure which can cause corneal problems
  • Droopy eyebrow which may cause vision problems
  • Droopiness in the corner of the mouth, which causes drooling, biting of the cheek, problems with speech
  • Obstruction of the nasal breathing on the affected side

There are two types of facial paralysis:

  • Central (preserves some function in the upper part of the face): Central paralysis is caused by neurological, neurosurgical problems including stroke, tumors, lesions or diseases of the brain/brainstem.
  • Peripheral (involves the entire half of the face): Some of the causes of peripheral facial paralysis are Bell’s palsy, infections, fractures of the temple bone, and penetrating trauma to the face causing transection of the facial nerve branches. Surgery of the ear, face or parotid gland may result in an unintentional injury in the nerve. Sometimes, the nerve is intentionally removed if it is involved with a tumor during head and neck cancer surgery.

Many of the infectious and traumatic (unless there is a cut in the nerve) facial paralysis are temporary, so complete recovery can be expected. Facial paralysis can be the first sign of a neurological disorder, brain tumor or cancer of the parotid gland, therefore appropriate work-up including CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging may be necessary. The treatment of facial nerve paralysis involves a number of considerations, including the cause of the nerve injury, the condition of the nerve or facial muscles and the functional impairment to the patient. Treatment may include medications or surgeries. There are a variety of surgical procedures that may help the patient with facial paralysis, which include:

  1. Reconstruction of the facial paralysis with primary nerve repair, nerve grafts or re-routing the other surrounding nerves
  2. Transposing the chewing muscles to the face (dynamic slings)
  3. Suspension techniques with tissue grafts or implants (static slings) to improve drooling, speech, nasal breathing
  4. In selected patients, transferring muscle tissue from other parts of the body to the face
  5. Eye protection techniques such as tightening the lower eyelid and loading the upper eyelid with implants to provide eye closure
  6. Browlifting for improving the visual field deficit

The team, led by Emre Vural, M.D., otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, includes otologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, neurologists, radiologists and therapists.

Patients may be referred by their physicians or may call for an appointment themselves.

Contact Information:

New Appointments
(501) 686-8000 or 1-866-826-7362

Fax
(501) 686-8644

Hours
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

Location
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, 6th Floor