What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome, also known as herpes zoster oticus, is a virally-induced condition that can result in facial paralysis. As its scientific name implies, the syndrome results from infection with the herpes zoster virus which causes shingles. This is caused by the same virus that is responsible for chicken pox.
After a chicken pox infection, the virus can lay dormant in the body for years until later in life when it can resurface as shingles.
Shingles occurs most commonly in elderly individuals and those with some form of immunosuppression. Although rare in children, anyone who has had chicken pox is at risk for developing Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
The diagnosis is usually based on history and physical exam. A painful rash with blistering is characteristic of shingles. In Ramsay Hunt syndrome, the rash occurs over the ear and can affect hearing. Early treatment is required in the first week to avoid progression to hearing loss and facial paralysis. Pain medications in combination with antiviral medications (eg, acyclovir) are initiated at the first sign of symptoms. Steroids may also be used to reduce inflammation. All other measures are directed at controlling the symptoms related to facial paralysis. Eye lubrication must be used aggressively to avoid damage to the eye. Physical therapy is also begun to encourage rapid reinnervation of the facial nerve.
Dr. Andre Panossian is an expert in the field of facial paralysis and has treated countless individuals with Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Treatment is initiated in a multidisciplinary fashion to ensure rapid return to normal without having long-term complications. Early intervention also ensures that recovery from facial paralysis is monitored and constantly improving. Treatment options are available from Botox® injections to help settle spasticity in paralyzed muscles to facial reanimation procedures.
Why choose Dr Panossian
- He received his medical education at Tufts University School of Medicine.
- Graduated at the top of his class at UCLA, receiving Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors.
- Was accepted into an elite combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Completed subspecialty training in craniofacial surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Harvard Medical School.
- Was mentored by Dr. Ron Zuker in the practice of facial paralysis reconstruction. This prestigious fellowship position was available to only one surgeon in the United States.
- Is affiliated with various charitable and educational organizations, including Operation Smile and Mending Kids.
- Is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the highly selective American Association of Plastic Surgeons, reserved for only a select group of individuals nationally who have demonstrated excellence in academic plastic surgery.
- Holds memberships in several other professional societies including the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
- He serves on the Board of Directors for Mending Kids and the Gondobay Manga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of lives in Sierra Leone.
- Has been nominated by his peers annually since 2012 as a “Super Doctor.”
- Served as an expert medical consultant and appeared on The Doctors, Grey’s Anatomy, and Nip/Tuck.
- Has been featured as “Top Doctor” in US News and World Report, Pasadena Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
Last modified by Dr. Andre Panossian