New Treatment for facial Paralysis

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Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS, Beverly Hills reconstructive surgeon, discusses the new facial reanimation option for facial paralysis

The study showed that patients with nuclear facial paralysis who undergo end-to-end hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis achieve similar degrees of reanimation compared with those with peripheral facial nerve palsies.

According to a recently published study performed by the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis can help reanimate the face in patients with complete nuclear facial nerve palsy.

Facial paralysis occurs when a person is no longer able to move some or all of the muscles on one side of the face. It is almost always caused by damage or swelling of the facial nerve, which carries signals from the brain to the muscles of the face, or damage to the area of the brain that sends signals to the muscles of the face. There are, however, other causes as well, such as infection, Lyme disease, Sarcoidosis, and stroke. With a stroke, other muscles on one side of the body may also be involved.

The study, which involved retrospective case series and took place in a tertiary academic medical center, featured four patients with complete facial nerve paralysis.

“All the patients underwent end-to-end hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis to determine if it could help reanimate the face, and the results were certainly interesting,” says facial paralysis expert Dr. Babak Azizzadeh.

With a minimum of 12 months follow-up after end-to-end hypoglossal-facial anastomosis, 75% of patients regained function to HB grade III/VI, and 25% had HB grade IV/VI. Average Facial Disability Index scores, meanwhile, were 61.25 for physical function and 78 for social/well-being, which is comparable to results from complete hypoglossal-facial anastomosis after peripheral facial nerve palsy after acoustic neuroma resection.

"The study showed that patients with nuclear facial paralysis who undergo end-to-end hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis achieve similar degrees of reanimation compared with those with peripheral facial nerve palsies. This, in turn, raises the intriguing possibility that reinnervation may also be of benefit in patients who have facial dysfunction as a result of cortical stroke or injury,” says Dr. Azizzadeh.

Dr. Azizzadeh is trained in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, as well as Head & Neck Surgery, giving him a distinctive insight into facial nerve function and facial aesthetics. He has been recognized for his work on several occasions, and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show for his expertise in facial nerve reconstruction. Dr. Azizzadeh is also the director of the USC Facial Plastic Fellowship Program as well as the Cedars-Sinai Multispecialty Plastic Surgery Symposium.

For more information visit http://www.facialparalysisinstitute.com or call (310) 657-2203.

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