Cross Facial Nerve Graft Procedure is Now an Outpatient Procedure for Individuals With Facial Paralysis

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Facial Paralysis Surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh in Beverly Hills provides cross-facial nerve graft procedures as an outpatient process.

These nerve transplants give patients the ability to utilize the facial nerve in the normal side of the face to drive the facial movement in the paralyzed side

Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, a facial paralysis expert in Beverly Hills, often performs cross- facial nerve graft procedures on patients under 55 years old who have long-term facial nerve paralysis to recreate dynamic and spontaneous smile mechanisms. Traditionally, this surgery was an inpatient procedure and required patients to spend several days of recovery time in the hospital. However, in conjunction with La Peer Surgery Center’s cutting-edge technologies and super-specialized team, Dr. Azizzadeh performs most of his cross-facial nerve grafts in an outpatient procedure.

Offering cross-facial nerve grafting as an outpatient process greatly benefits facial paralysis patients by allowing a smooth recovery at home or after-care facility as well as limit the risks of hospital borne infections.

“These nerve transplants give patients the ability to utilize the facial nerve in the normal side of the face to drive the facial movement in the paralyzed side,” said Dr. Azizzadeh. Patients with long-term paralysis have non-functional muscles and therefore need new vascularized muscle to be attached to the cross-facial nerve grafts.

In the first stage of cross-facial nerve grafting Dr. Azizzadeh harvests a nerve (sural graft) from the patient’s lower leg and connects it to the normal facial nerve on the unaffected side. Over the next 6 to 12 months, the nerve is neurotized, or activated. In the second stage, free muscle graft is utilized. The gracilis muscle with its nerve, artery and vein is harvested and anchored to the paralyzed side of the face. The sural nerve is connected to the gracilis nerve and the artery and veins are hooked up to the facial artery and veins to allow blood supply to the muscle. Now, when the patient smiles on the normal side, the gracilis muscle on the paralyzed side will be activated and move, thereby restoring the patient’s smile. Generally, patients will undergo physical therapy for 18 months, and facial movements are gradually realized about 8 months followed the second stage of surgery and continue to improve for 2 years.

There are a variety of causes of facial paralysis, and when Dr. Azizzadeh evaluates a patient’s condition, there are several factors that he must take into consideration when determining a treatment plan. Cross-facial nerve graft surgery is just one of the many facial paralysis treatments Dr. Azizzadeh specializes in. “Every surgery is different. We customize the operation depending on the patient’s desires, as well as age, cause, duration and severity of paralysis,” said Dr. Azizzadeh.

Extensive experience and training is required to treat patients with facial paralysis disorders. Dr. Babak Azizzadeh is the Director of the Facial Paralysis Institute and is one of the leading figures in the field of Facial Nerve Paralysis. Dr. Azizzadeh is trained in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, as well as Head & Neck Surgery, which give him a distinctive insight into facial nerve function and facial aesthetics.

Furthermore, Dr. Azizzadeh is the Chairman and Director of the facial paralysis institute in Los Angeles and is a Harvard-trained facial plastic surgeon. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. He has written 5 medical textbooks, lectured around the world as well as been featured in national media outlets including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Times and Discovery Health for his extensive knowledge in facial plastic surgery.

Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, La Peer Surgery Center and The Facial Paralysis Institute provide the most comfortable and technologically advanced facilities in the field of medicine. For more information about the The Facial Paralysis Institute visit


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Risa Luksa
La Peer Health Systems
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