What causes Facial Paralysis?
Typically, facial paralysis is caused by aggravation of the facial nerve whether through trauma, a tumor, inflammation, or a stroke. The most common cause is due to Bell’s Palsy, which unfortunately the cause is largely unknown. It is theorized, that Bell’s palsy it is due to a viral infection such as an upper respiratory infection that leads to the inflammation of the nerve.
My face is paralyzed, what do I do?
First, it is important to know the cause of the facial paralysis. The majority of patients with Bell’s Palsy will get near complete recovery of their facial function with conservative treatment such as oral steroids. If your face has been paralyzed for greater than 3 months, than it is important that you see a specialist such as an otolaryngologist or facial plastic surgeon to make sure that the paralysis is not due to a tumor.
The next most important step when dealing with facial paralysis is to protect the eye. You can lose your ability to blink which spreads our tears across our cornea. If you cannot blink than it is important to use eye drops regularly and eye ointment at night.
What are the treatment options for facial paralysis?
When facial paralysis occurs, it is important to note whether it is a complete loss of function or just a partial loss. It is also important to note the time frame of the facial paralysis. If there is a complete facial paralysis, it is important to get in to see a specialist within 1-2 weeks.
There are various treatment options for facial paralysis and some of them too complex to adequately describe in a short paragraph. The best way to discuss the options is to meet with your facial plastic surgeon so you can have an informative discussion.