Why the Facial Nerve Is More Important Than You Think
The facial nerve is responsible for facial expressions and basic facial functions like chewing and speaking. It is also responsible for taste in the front two-thirds of the tongue and mouth. If the facial nerve stops functioning correctly, the consequences can be dire. To better understand why this is the case, let’s first consider the overall structure of the facial nerve.
An individual’s facial nerve splits into the cervical, mandibular, buccal, zygomatic, and temporal branches. If one or more of these branches is impaired, facial paralysis occurs.
Facial paralysis is caused by any condition that harms the facial nerve. It hinders a person’s ability to make facial expressions, chew, swallow, and speak. Additionally, facial paralysis causes facial features to become partially or completely dysfunctional.
There are many causes of facial paralysis. These include:
- Bell’s Palsy: Form of temporary facial paralysis that interrupts messages the brain sends to the facial muscles, resulting in weakness or paralysis of one or both sides of the face.
- Moebius Syndrome: A rare neurological disorder that affects an individual’s ability to smile, frown, pucker the lips, close the eyelids, or raise the eyebrows.
- Hemifacial Microsomia: A congenital disorder in which the lower half of one side of the face is underdeveloped; hemifacial macrosomia causes maldevelopment of the ear and mandible (jawbone).
- Lyme Disease: A tick-borne condition that damages joints and the nervous system, as well as the facial nerve.
In addition to making it difficult to perform facial expressions and basic facial functions, most facial paralysis patients experience subtle symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Facial asymmetry
- Paralysis of the lower eyelid
- Depression of the eyebrows
- Cornea damage
- Drooping in the mid-face area
- Reduced tear production
- Lower lip deficit
An individual who experiences facial paralysis symptoms – regardless of degree – should seek help from a facial nerve specialist. By doing so, this individual can receive a facial paralysis diagnosis and explore treatment options.
For those who are dealing with any facial paralysis symptoms, a consultation with Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery is ideal. Dr. Azizzadeh is dual-certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery). He understands all aspects of the cranial anatomy, including the facial nerve. He has also spent many years researching and perfecting techniques to restore the facial nerve function in patients who have lost it due to congenital deficiencies or trauma.
Dr. Azizzadeh has helped hundreds of patients overcome facial paralysis. His comprehensive expertise enables him to provide an accurate diagnosis – a key tenet of safe, effective facial paralysis treatment.
During a patient consultation, Dr. Azizzadeh learns about an individual’s facial paralysis symptoms and analyzes his or her condition. Dr. Azizzadeh teaches patients about facial paralysis and responds to their concerns or questions. Plus, he offers both partial and total solutions to help patients alleviate facial paralysis symptoms.
Dr. Azizzadeh provides non-invasive and surgical treatments. He determines which treatment options will best benefit a patient by listening to his or her personal cosmetic and functional goals. In many cases, the ideal facial paralysis treatment includes a combination of non-invasive and surgical options. To find out more, please contact the CENTER today at 310-657-2203 to schedule a consultation.