Dr. Andre Panossian has performed hundreds of surgeries to reconstruct patients with facial paralysis. Based on his extensive experience in the field, Dr. Panossian created the Facial Paralysis Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, bringing together multiple specialists to treat patients affected by facial paralysis. Trained at Harvard and at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto with Dr. Ron Zuker, he is an expert in both Zuker and Labbé smile surgery techniques. In addition to performing the gracilis muscle transfer and cross-face nerve graft, Dr. Panossian has modified and refined the temporalis myoplasty (Labbé technique) to get consistent results and shorter recovery times. Most patients no longer require a hospital stay.* Other necessary procedures for correction of eyelid drooping, brow asymmetry, and lower lip balancing are now offered simultaneously. Dr. Panossian’s modifications have improved the time to reanimation and overall patient satisfaction. In addition, his specialty in the complex world of pediatric plastic surgery gives him an edge in addressing facial paralysis in adults as well. You no longer have to live with facial paralysis. To find out more about facial paralysis, visit Dr. Panossian’s new website www.FacialParalysisCenter.com.
Simply put, facial paralysis is the inability to move the 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 (Bell’s palsy), 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 or 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 into areas of the face that are most noticeably affected… the forehead, eyes, and smile (see tabs on left column). 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. He engages in research aimed at understanding the basis for facial paralysis and strategizing new techniques to improve surgical outcomes. If you have been affected by facial paralysis, contact Dr. Panossian to begin your path to recovery.
*Hospitalization requirement is determined on an individual basis and will depend on patient health status at the time of surgery.