Facial Paralysis and Rehabilitation Clinic
The Facial Paralysis and Rehabilitation Clinic treats a full range of facial nerve paralysis patients using the most advanced medical and surgical techniques. Our highly experienced staff includes neuro-otologists (Jeffrey T. Vrabec, M.D., and Robert A. Williamson, M.D.), experts in the Baylor Facial Plastic Surgery Center, and speech therapists who believe that the best care is tailored to each patient's needs by a collaborative multidisciplinary team.
About Facial Nerve Injury
The facial nerve allows one to move the muscles of the face in smiling, frowning, laughing, crying, or making any other facial expressions. The nerve also controls the tear glands in the eyes, some of the saliva glands in the mouth, and the taste buds on the front of the tongue. When the facial nerve is damaged because of infection, injury, tumor or other reasons, these functions can be diminished or completely lost. Damage may result in twitching or spasms, facial weakness or paralysis, dryness in the eyes or mouth, or disruption of one's sense of taste.
If facial nerve damage is suspected, the patient will undergo a careful examination of the head, neck, and ears. This clinical evaluation may include hearing tests, eye exams, imaging scans (including CT or MRI) and tests that evaluate the functional status of the nerve and measure its response.
Treatment to correct damage to the facial nerve may include antiviral medications, antibiotics, or steroids to reduce infection and swelling. Surgery in some patients may be required and may take the form of facial nerve decompression, eyelid weight implantation, muscle transfers, nerve grafting, division of overactive muscles or Botox® injections.