The Facial Nerve Expert
What is facial paralysis surgery?
Facial paralysis surgery or reconstruction refers to a series of reconstructive procedures that are designed to restore symmetry of the face following Bell’s palsy, trauma, or congenital absence of the facial nerve. Dr. Andre Panossian is an internationally-recognized expert in the treatment of facial paralysis and addresses virtually all causes of facial nerve disorder. There are many ways to categorize the causes of facial paralysis, but most are based on facial nerve injury, compression, or inflammation. The facial nerve can be injured anywhere along its path from the brainstem all the way into the facial muscles themselves. There can be partial paralysis (facial weakness with some facial movement) or complete paralysis (absolutely no movement). Facial paralysis can affect one side or both sides of the face. It can also be characterized as congenital (existing from birth) or acquired (or, occurring later in life).
“You no longer need to live with facial paralysis. There are state-of-the-art options available for virtually every person and at every step of the way.”
What do I do next?
If you have been doing your research on plastic surgeons for your cosmetic or reconstructive needs, then look no further. Dr. Panossian combines his passion for plastic surgery with a strong focus on patient well-being. The consultation is only the first encounter that will leave you feeling confident in your decision to pursue plastic surgery. Dr. Panossian’s wealth of knowledge in the field is matched only by his highly skilled hand in the operating room. Rest assured that your best interests and desires for the absolute finest result is at the heart of his entire approach.
There are several options for pursuing a consultation with Dr. Panossian. The best way to get a proper assessment and surgical plan is to come into our office. A lengthy consultation will go over your options and answer any and all of your questions. If you are located outside of the greater Los Angeles area, Dr. Panossian does offer Skype consultation. This does not substitute for an in-person consultation, but for many living outside of Los Angeles, this a convenient first step.
Bell’s palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis. There is no single known cause of Bell’s palsy. It is most often associated with facial nerve swelling and inflammation similar to what can occur during a viral illness. Most cases of Bell’s palsy will resolve on their own, but in approximately 30% of individuals, it may persist.
Perhaps one of the most common congenital reasons for facial paralysis that Dr. Panossian treats is Moebius syndrome. In this condition, absence of the facial nerve on both sides of the face is commonly seen. Dr. Panossian has developed a unique surgery to animate the smile for these courageous individuals.
Tumors and acoustic neuromas can affect the facial nerve indirectly along its course and cause facial paralysis. These tumors often arise from adjacent nerves that are in close proximity to the facial nerve and can create a compressive effect as they enlarge. Sometimes, removal of acoustic neuromas and other tumors may impact the facial nerve.
Facial Nerve Trauma
Trauma to the facial nerve of any type can cause facial paralysis. Whether the nerve is cut or bruised, function of the facial nerve will be impaired either temporarily or permanently depending on the degree of injury. Early surgery will re-establish nerve function when the nerve is cut or irreversibly damaged.
When facial nerve recovery is disorganized, it can sometimes cause synkinesis. This refers to the abnormal re-wiring of the facial nerve that can happen as facial paralysis resolves. This is most commonly seen after slow recovery of Bell’s palsy. Although it can be quite pervasive, treatment with Botox® and surgery can offer relief.
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
This curious condition demonstrates shingles-like symptoms involving the ear and the facial nerve. It is, in fact, caused by the herpes zoster virus that is responsible for chicken pox and shingles. The symptoms can also affect hearing. Most often, the symptoms will resolve on their own. However, surgery may be required if facial paralysis persists.
Dr. Panossian has received the highest honor bestowed by the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal, the pre-eminent publication of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Read about his ground-breaking smile reanimation technique.
Plastic surgery is such a personal choice. It is important to have all the necessary information you need to make an informed decision…one that you will feel great about for a lifetime. That doesn’t mean picking just any plastic surgeon. We believe that your health and safety comes first. Everything else pales in comparison. Along with this assumption, plastic surgery does not have to be unnecessarily painful or uncomfortable. It should be a positive overall experience with a lifetime of happiness to be gained.
In our practice, we strive to make your experience nothing short of spectacular from the first consultation to your very last postoperative visit. Dr. Panossian and his staff are available to answer any and all of your questions throughout this process so that you leave with nothing short of a 5-star experience in every way.