What is Facial Paralysis?

Simply put…facial paralysis is the inability to move your face and partial facial paralysis is the inability to move a portion of your face. However, this simplifies the true importance of what the face really does. As human beings, we rely on our faces to communicate emotions, establish bonds with others, and protect important functions such as eyesight and speech. The true importance of facial expression is often overlooked until it is gone.

There is no single cause of facial paralysis, but it involves damage to the facial nerve, which innervates all of the muscles of facial expression. Sources of that damage can include viral infection, trauma, tumor, certain medications, autoimmune disorders, or other causes. Sometimes, it is possible to regain that function over time. However, nerves regenerate at a very slow rate. Recovery may take weeks to months to years to occur. However, sometimes the damage is irreversible, and the result is permanent facial paralysis. It may affect one or both sides of the face. It may occur asymmetrically. There may be residual weakness or incomplete paralysis. The overall picture can be quite varied.

Facial paralysis can be broken down to areas of the face that are most noticeably affected… the forehead, eyes, and smile. No two patients are alike in their appearance and degree of facial paralysis. To understand the reconstructive options for each area, click on the appropriate links for details. Dr. Panossian’s expertise in reconstruction of facial paralysis is quite extensive and unparalleled. If you have been affected by facial paralysis in Los Angeles or elsewhere, contact Dr. Panossian to begin your path to recovery with facial paralysis surgery.

Dr. Panossian is the Founder and Director of the Facial Paralysis Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He leads a team of specialists dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of children and adults with facial paralysis.

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