Strokes are often associated with facial paralysis. A stroke is classified as either ischemic (lack of blood flow) or hemorrhagic (blood vessel rupture) and can affect various centers in the brain. When a stroke occurs in the area of the brain that controls movement (primary motor cortex), it can result in loss of function of the muscles it controls. A motor homunculus is a graphic representation depicting what areas are controlled geographically along the frontal lobe cortex. The muscles of facial expression are affected frequently in stroke patients. This can manifest as either facial weakness, partial paralysis, or complete paralysis.
In some cases, stroke patients may qualify for intervention for facial paralysis, if the symptoms of stroke do not resolve. These patients face the same consequences as other facial paralysis patients, including symptoms of drooling, facial drooping, eyebrow droop, incomplete blink and eye closure, watery eye, speech disturbance, and swallowing difficulties.
Facial paralysis reconstruction must be weighed against the risk of surgery in stroke patients. These patients tend to be older and may have other morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. If these problems are addressed and managed effectively, then a surgical plan may be instituted. In any case, the mainstay of management in stroke patients is facial and physical therapy. Aside from reanimation procedures, there are several other options for cosmetic improvement that may be more simple such as facelift, browlift, or fascia lata tendon sling placement.
Contact the Dr. Panossian today to discuss your options for treatment, if you or a loved one has sustained a stroke.