“My doctor told me there was nothing further that could be done about my condition!”
All too often I will hear a patient tell me that they are afraid that there will be no further improvement in their condition, or that anything further can be done to improve the facial paralysis. Both you and your doctor may be searching for positive answers and directions.
Facial paralysis is a very difficult problem. Receiving a diagnosis of facial paralysis can be frightening, confusing, and uncertain. Facial paralysis can come on suddenly or slowly, can involve one side or both, can take away motion and expression from all muscles or simply weaken some.
Uncovering the Facts
Information is key. If you have been affected by facial paralysis, you must understand the complete problem. I encourage you to schedule a consultation whether you suffer from long-standing paralysis or you are experiencing recent onset partial changes in your facial motion.
Like all patients who come in for a facial paralysis surgery consultation, you will want to understand the extent of your paralysis and if it can be improved. Surgery may or may not be indicated. Your initial consultation will help to clarify that information.
The Consultation Process
All too often patients will come to the consultation uncertain as to the extent of their facial paralysis or whether it can be improved. To determine the severity of your condition, I will need to first understand the events just before and during the onset of your facial paralysis. I will then ask you about any progression or persistent symptoms that you are aware of. To help with a proper diagnosis during your consultation, I recommend the following:
- Bring a self-written record of every one of your symptoms that you see or feel that pertains to your facial movements.
- Obtain a copy of all of your records of importance (diagnosis, prior treatment, MRI, CAT, electrical testing, photographs) from your treating physicians and therapists.
- Understand that the effects and therefore the treatment of the facial paralysis to be discussed with you can vary tremendously, such as is the case with Bell’s Palsy.
- Be prepared for a thorough examination of your facial movements and expressions, to include photography, video expression, and speech.
In a comfortable area outside of the examining room I will review my findings of the facial and neck areas affected with both you and family and/or a friend if desired. There is often a lot of discussion and having someone with you is sometimes a good idea and welcomed. The photos just taken will complement my evaluation. Taking the time to answer all questions is extremely important. My goal is to assure that you fully understand what has happened, what is expected, and what can be done. This part of the examination can be emotional for all present.
The next step of the consultation is to determine whether treatment will be beneficial to you. I will take into consideration the duration of your facial paralysis and will use that information to provide you with a timeline for treatment.
The complexity of your facial reanimation treatment will depend on the nature and origin of your facial paralysis, whether it’s identified as complete or partial paralysis, the timeline of symptoms, and the possibility of spontaneous progressive recovery.
By the end of the consultation, you will have a greater understanding of your condition and any treatment options that are available to you.
Hopefully, this has provided some early insight related to facial paralysis reanimation. I will do my best to answer more of your questions related to facial paralysis and possible treatments in future posts.
Defining the different types of facial paralysis will be the subject of my next post.
Until then, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to leave them in the comments section below. If you want your questions answered right away or if you would like to schedule a consultation with facial reanimation surgeon Dr. Simpson, contact the Facial Reanimation Center at Long Island Plastic Surgical Group today.
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