Facial paralysis is a very stressful situation for those affected. Apart from the slackening of the facial muscles, there are often difficulties in closing the eye, moving the mouth symmetrically or smiling.
Classical symptoms of peripheral facial paralysis are:
- slight weakness to total paralysis on one side of your face
- drooping corner of the mouth, spread skin folds
- drooping cheek or lower lip
- inability to actively move the muscles of the respective side of the face (reduced facial expressions)
- impaired eyelid closure
- disturbance of tear and saliva secretion
The impairment of speech and swallowing motor skills (loss of fluid from the corner of the mouth) is often accompanied by a lack of acceptance of the environment, which can make it difficult for those affected to participate socially. In addition, local complications of the eye often occur, such as dry, inflamed eyes, damage to the cornea and even blindness.
Causes of facial paralysis
The most common form of facial paralysis is the one with no apparent cause - known as idiopathic facial nerve palsy. In all other cases, the disease is caused by another underlying disease. Accidents, inflammation, soft tissue tumours or strokes can cause temporary or permanent damage to the facial nerve. Regardless of the cause, an immediate medical clarification should always be sought.
Treatment of facial paralysis
The majority of acute facial nerve paralysis heals after a few weeks without consequences. The standard treatment consists of drug therapy to speed up recovery and avoid further complications.
Therapy for permanent facial paralysis
For patients in whom there is no or only incomplete regression after several months, or a permanent weakness or asymmetry of the facial muscles remains, modern surgery offers various - also minimally invasive - possibilities which can reduce complaints or even completely remove the paralysis.
Static methods help to equalise the facial features at rest. These include eyebrow/eyelid lifting or the use of implants which weigh down the eyelid and thus allow the eyes to close.
Dynamic methods are surgically more demanding and aim to restore active facial movements with the help of the body's own transplants or nerve grafts. Even if a year or more has passed, there are options for reviving facial movement and expression.
Due to the importance of facial mobility for facial expression and communication, expert advice and treatment is essential for those affected. Our team consists of ENT doctors, plastic facial surgeons and neurologists. We will be happy to discuss with you in detail which therapeutic options are suitable for you.