Adelaide Plastic Surgery

Facial Paralysis

Facial Paralysis

Our expressions can communicate as much as what we say to others. Sometimes more. So for those afflicted by facial paralysis, it’s like living behind a curtain. It can be socially devastating and functionally disabling. Even partial paralysis can dramatically affect our ability to interact with people. Sufferers gradually learn to cope but many never fully adjust. But there are solutions, if you know to act quickly.

Facial Paralysis

The consequences of waiting

Sometimes, regrettably, patients are not made aware that surgical treatment can deal with their problem. The fact that you’re reading this is a good sign. However, a warning: facial droop (ptosis) only increases with time, exaggerating the abnormal appearance and further impeding the function of the eyes and mouth. The tragedy compounds with neglect. So don’t put this off.

Irrespective of cause, if spontaneous recovery fails, the sooner we can reconnect the nerve supply (re-innervation), the more successful the outcome. After approximately 18 months of denervation (a lack of nerve supply), the facial muscles will degenerate irreversibly.

Therefore, to salvage the affected facial muscles, surgical intervention must occur within the first 12 months of facial nerve injury. (That’s because it takes at least six months for the new nerve fibres to grow up to the muscle motor end-plates.)

What can be done after this time?

If your facial muscles have degenerated, we can import new muscle to mobilise your face. Don’t lose heart: there are still several good options. The choice depends on a number of factors, which we’ll thoroughly discuss when we examine you.

Other ways we can help

Tour our website and you’ll see we offer a full palette of procedures to complement the main reconstruction by addressing specific problems, such as supporting the eyebrow, eyelids, nose or mouth. We can also improve overall appearance with a face and neck lift at the same time, if appropriate to your needs.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of options exist, which have varying degrees of success and applicability. What is essential is to make an individualised assessment of your case. First: let’s get an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the cause, anatomical site and severity of your paralysis. Then, just as importantly, we’ll listen to what you want out of your treatment and then judge the suitability of the options against that.

Our Facial Paralysis Surgeon