Facial Reanimation Treatment Options
Our facial expressions are extremely complex. Smiling, closing our eyes, and lifting our eyebrows are such natural expressions of our emotions. For patients who experience facial paralysis, the loss of some or all of these abilities can be life-altering. They often suffer from a drooping mouth, an inability to close one or both eyes, and a significant change in their appearance. The condition can not only have a debilitating effect on the functionality of facial features, but can also severely impact one’s self-esteem.
Although there are conditions where facial paralysis has resolved over time, and normal form and function of facial features progressively restore themselves, therapy or surgical treatment is often needed to reanimate the face. Facial paralysis reanimation surgery primarily seeks to restore symmetry to the smile. Associated procedures can also be performed to establish eyelid closure and to fill areas were affected muscle atrophy has occurred. In facial reanimation surgery, our reconstructive surgeon will attempt to rebalance the smile by restoring function in the paralyzed area. In cases of partial or complete paralysis, functioning muscles may be moved into those regions with the goal of restoring balance and form.
The Long Island Plastic Surgical Group is home to the Facial Reanimation Center. This is a designated Center of Excellence within our practice whose primary goal is to treat facial paralysis using the latest technology and the most skilled and experience surgical team. The director of our Center, Dr. Roger Simpson, has been performing these types of specialized procedures for more than 25 years. Dr. Simpson trained under one of the pioneers in the field of facial reanimation surgery, Leonard Rubin, MD, who is also a founding partner of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group. Our practice has been performing treatment for patients around the world affected by facial paralysis since 1948. We are dedicated to helping you restore function and appearance to your facial features, and improving your quality of life.
To schedule a consultation for facial reanimation surgery at our Long Island practice, please contact LIPSG.
Muscle transfer is the primary method of facial reanimation surgery used here at our center. LIPSG surgeons can bring dynamic mobility to paralyzed regions of the face by moving muscles from other facial areas. This transfer of muscle provides a motor to stimulate and recreate movement, particular in the area of the mouth, allowing people to smile again.
Nerve grafting is a method of facial reanimation that can restore a patient’s ability to smile. Nerves taken from the non-paralyzed region of the face are transplanted to the paralyzed area. Once there, the energy generated by the new nerves can be used to spur facial movement on the paralyzed side. Nerve grafting is often followed by a second procedure about six months later that will transfer a new muscle to the face, with the ultimate goal of recreating the motion of the cheek. Although it may take some time for patients to experience the full effects of nerve grafting surgery after the procedure is complete, it has proven to have a very good success rate in reanimating the face.
Neural techniques often involve the repair of damaged nerves in the face. This procedure, along with most facial reanimation surgery techniques, is performed micro surgically (using microscopes and small instruments for the complex repair of nerves and blood vessels). Most useful for patients whose facial paralysis has been caused by traumatic injury, neural techniques often need to be performed immediately after the injury has occurred and before the development of scarring and fibrosis.
Excessive tearing or dry eyes caused by facial paralysis can be treated with surgery directed at supporting the lower eyelid and restoring downward motion to the upper eyelid. Placement of an upper lid gold weight creates the ability for the upper lid to descend protecting the cornea. Upward support of the lower lid will allow closure for additional tear retention.
In addition to offering reconstructive surgical techniques such as those outlined above, there are a number of plastic surgery procedures offered by LIPSG that can serve to help patients who suffer from facial paralysis restore balance. The following links will take you to more information on our main website.
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The Facial Reanimation Center at LIPSG is home to some of the most skilled reconstructive surgeons in the country. Our center’s purpose is specifically to help those affected by facial paralysis by offering treatment that has proven effective in reanimating the face and restoring form and function to facial features. Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation and we will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.
For more information on the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, the procedures we offer, and details on our doctors and other Centers of Excellence within our practice, please visit our main website at www.lipsg.com.