Transparent Artificial Muscle May Prove Useful in Facial Reanimation Procedures

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The Director of the Facial Paralysis Institute in Beverly Hills, Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS, responds to the development of a transparent artificial muscle from the researchers at Harvard University.

Babak Azizzadeh MD
These innovative procedures can restore some facial muscle function in paralysis patients and give them back the smile they haven’t seen in quite some time.

An article published September 5, 2013 on Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences website details the advances being made in the development of a transparent artificial muscle that could prove to have a multitude of ground-breaking uses. Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS, facial paralysis surgeon and former Harvard Medical School fellow, responds to these new developments.

“With continued research and development, this biocompatible gel-based device could prove useful in a variety of medical arenas. In facial paralysis surgery in particular, a transparent artificial muscle could become part of our facial reanimation strategy for patients suffering from permanent facial paralysis,” said Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, Director of the prestigious Facial Paralysis Institute in Beverly Hills.

While the device needs more research and fine-tuning, it has the potential to aid in facial reanimation procedures such as the cross facial nerve graft. The cross facial nerve graft procedure is typically performed in conjunction with a gracilis muscle free flap procedure in which part of the gracilis muscle is harvested from the thigh and then attached to the cross facial nerve graft to restore spontaneous facial movement.

“A transparent artificial muscle could potentially be used in place of the gracilis muscle flap. This would save time, reduce the length and trauma of the surgery, and help patients recover more quickly because we would not need to retrieve the gracilis muscle from the patient’s thigh. That means one less incision and an easier recovery,” explained Dr. Azizzadeh.

Dr. Azizzadeh is an expert at facial reanimation surgery and is known for his minimally invasive surgical techniques. Surgical procedures like the cross facial nerve graft and gracilis muscle free flap are performed on patients with long-term facial paralysis with non-functional facial muscles.

“These innovative procedures can restore some facial muscle function in paralysis patients and give them back the smile they haven’t seen in quite some time. The surgeries are complex, so it is imperative that facial paralysis patients seek treatment from a facial paralysis specialist,” said Dr. Babak Azizzadeh.

Since his extensive and prestigious training at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Azizzadeh has helped hundreds of people with varying degrees of facial paralysis. Dr. Azizzadeh is the director of the Facial Paralysis Institute and one of the leading figures in the field of Facial Nerve Paralysis. Dr. Azizzadeh has been recognized for his work on several occasions, and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and countless other media outlets.

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. Dr. Azizzadeh also has extensive training in microsurgical facial reconstruction, which is often required for the treatment of people who are born with facial paralysis.

To learn more about facial reanimation, contact the Facial Paralysis Institute at (310) 657-2203.

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