Facial Paralysis Treatment San Francisco
Performed by Dr. Maas
When facial trauma, infection, surgery or a number of other factors injure the facial nerve (facial nerve palsy), the entire side of the face can droop and become immobile. Facial paralysis treatment in San Francisco can help to restore function and appearance to the area of the face affected by the paralysis.
Facial paralysis occurs when the facial nerve becomes damaged or compressed. The facial nerve starts at the bottom of the ear, comes through the bone and spreads like fingers to provide motion and feeling to various muscles of the face. There is a different facial nerve on either side of the face, so if just one becomes damaged, the results can be very asymmetrical and noticeable.
Causes of Facial Paralysis
There are numerous reasons why facial paralysis might occur. Bell’s palsy is one of the most common conditions, although physicians are still unable to pinpoint precisely why this condition occurs. Common theories include inflammation of the nerve due to a viral infection, so Bell’s palsy is frequently treated through an anti-viral medication and steroids. If the condition does not completely resolve on its own, there are treatments to address the remaining paralysis. Botox injections are often used for this purpose.
Injury is another common reason for the onset of facial paralysis, which is frequently due to a deep laceration that damages the nerve. It can also occur after a motor vehicle accident that involves head injuries. In most cases, these injuries are given time to heal on their own before any type of treatment is considered.
Some conditions, such as synkinesis or hyperkinesis, involve the function of the eye as well as the appearance of the face. For example, the eye might close involuntarily when the person smiles or the brow may be raised too high on one side. Incomplete recovery of the facial nerve can also lead to the inability of the eye to close completely, which can lead to irritation, chronic dry eye and even severe corneal injury. These concerns can usually be treated through injectable or surgical procedures that provide the necessary correction and relief.
Treatment Options for Facial Paralysis in San Francisco
When facial paralysis does not resolve on its own, treatment may be recommended both to restore function and bring balance and symmetry back to the face. Dr. Maas may perform treatment alone at the Maas Clinic or in conjunction with a team of specialists at University of California, San Francisco.
Eyelids that do not close properly due to paralysis may be treated through surgical procedures that tighten a lax lower eyelid. Dr. Maas can also implant small platinum or gold weights underneath the upper eyelid to help the eye close completely. These procedures can be performed at the Maas Clinic on an outpatient basis, often using local anesthesia to ensure a quicker recovery process and fewer risks during and after surgery.
Other types of plastic surgery procedures may be used to reverse facial drooping that is common with facial nerve paralysis. These procedures are generally customized to the specific needs of each patient. An experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Maas is the best choice for these procedures, since these physicians have the experience, expertise in facial anatomy and an artistic approach to surgery that will provide the patient with the best possible results.
In some cases, such as in the event of synkinesis, Dr. Maas can use Botox injections to reduce unwanted muscle movement leading to asymmetries and imbalances in the face. Botox injections do not require any type of anesthesia and usually take just a few minutes to complete. However, the results of this treatment are not permanent and the procedure will need to be repeated at regular intervals to maintain the positive results.
Facial paralysis is often a problem that corrects on its own over time. However, if improvements are not seen within a reasonable period of time, surgical correction or other treatment options are available to reverse the effects of the paralysis and restore full function to the face.
Dr. Maas can discuss the various options available for face rehabilitation in the Bay Area during your consultation visit. To schedule an appointment, please call (415) 567-7000.