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Facial Nerve

Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS is internationally recognized for his expertise in facial plastic surgery and complex facial nerve reconstruction. His Harvard-trained expertise in aesthetic and reconstructive facial nerve surgery attracts patients both nationally and internationally to the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery.

What is the Facial Nerve?

The facial nerve is also known as the seventh cranial nerve, or cranial nerve VII. It splits into five separate branches that spread across the face. These branches are known as the cervical branch, mandibular branch, buccal branch, zygomatic branch, and temporal branch. All combined, these nerve branches are responsible for facial expression throughout the entire face, along with basic functions such as speech and ability to chew. Additionally, the facial nerve is responsible for taste in the front two thirds of the tongue and mouth.

What is Facial Paralysis?

Learn more about facial paralysis at The Facial Paralysis Institute.

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Facial paralysis occurs when one or more branches of the facial nerve become impaired to some degree. It can bring about a loss of one’s capacity for facial expression, along with decreased function, such as chewing, swallowing and speaking. Facial paralysis can be caused by many different factors, each of which requires its own unique correction technique. As a foremost expert in facial nerve reconstruction, Dr. Azizzadeh has led this elite field in developing and advancing technology to help patients reanimate their facial features.

Dr. Azizzadeh is board-certified in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, along with Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. He is well versed in virtually every aspect of cranial anatomy, including the critical facial nerve. In fact, much of his career has been spent researching and developing techniques to restore facial nerve function for those who have lost it to congenital deficiencies or trauma. As the Director of the Facial Paralysis Institute, Dr. Azizzadeh is recognized worldwide as a leading figure in the field of facial nerve paralysis.

After demonstrating incredible proficiency during his residency, Dr. Azizzadeh was selected to complete a highly focused, sub-specialized fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Harvard Medical School. It was during this time that he began his crucial work on correction of facial paralysis. Since that time, he has helped hundreds of patients with facial paralysis, including high profile patients featured on national media to demonstrate what is now possible in facial nerve reconstruction.

Before & Afters

Dr. Azizzadeh’s expertise in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery has made him one of the most sought after physicians in the world. Click the button below to view his results.

View All Before & Afters

Facial Paralysis Causes

As a general statement, facial paralysis is caused by any condition that damages the facial nerve in some way. When this occurs, facial features innervated by the facial nerve become partially or completely dysfunctional. Because the facial nerve is quite intricate, there are many different causes of facial paralysis. In treating facial paralysis, Dr. Azizzadeh’s expertise allows for accurate diagnosis, which is crucial for effective treatment. Causes of facial paralysis include:

  • Trauma to the face
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Excisional acoustic neuroma surgery
  • Ear or parotid surgery
  • Mobius syndrome—a congenital neurological disorder
  • Stroke or other disorders involving the central nervous system
  • Herpes Zoster Oticus—virus affecting the inner, middle and external ear
  • Melkersson-Rosenthal Syndrome—a rare neurological disorder
  • Hemifacial microsomia—congenital disorder of the lower half of the face
  • Infections of the middle ear
  • Lyme disease

Facial Paralysis Symptoms

While most patients will know they have some degree of facial paralysis, there are some who have subtle symptoms. Regardless of the type or degree of symptom, it is imperative that such patients seek the help of a facial nerve specialist to discover their treatment options. Symptoms of facial paralysis include:

  • Inability to smile on one or both sides
  • Oral disability, including drooling or inability to chew
  • Depression of the eyebrows
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Inability to close one or both eyelids
  • Paralysis of lower eyelid
  • Damage to cornea
  • Drooping in the mid-face
  • Decreased tear production
  • Obstruction of nasal airway due to secondary external valve collapse
  • Lower lip deficit
  • Effacement of the nasolabial fold

If you or someone you know has one or more of the above symptoms, it is time to seek the care of a facial nerve specialist. As an internationally renowned expert in the facial nerve and treating facial paralysis, Dr. Azizzadeh is regularly sought by both patients and peers from around the world. He helps his patients understand their condition, followed by offering them a partial or total solution to their symptoms. In many cases, he will offer innovative and comprehensive reconstruction techniques that other surgeons are not capable of crafting. To schedule a consultation, please call our office today.

Comprehensive Facial Nerve Consultation Process

A comprehensive facial nerve consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh is a unique experience. After examining the patient’s face and getting a good understanding of the patient’s concerns and goals, Dr. Azizzadeh will discuss both non-invasive and surgical approaches, where appropriate. As a world-renowned, double board certified facial reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Azizzadeh has an innovative perspective of customizing surgical and non-surgical treatments to comprehensively address symptoms of facial paralysis. As a result, his patients experience a symmetrical and functional outcome.

While some patients can benefit from non-invasive procedures alone, others will need surgery to reconstruct the facial nerve and restore facial function. Dr. Azizzadeh will determine which surgical options will best benefit each patient by listening to the patient’s personal cosmetic and functional goals, as well as examining the patient for underlying issues. In many cases, the ideal treatment plan includes both surgical and non-surgical options.

As a highly specialized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Azizzadeh takes plenty of time to help his patients fully understand their facial paralysis treatment options during their consultation. He educates patients on the underlying causes of their facial paralysis, along with how each treatment option will address those particular issues. In the complex field of facial nerve reconstructive surgery, knowledge is the most important thing for a patient, and that is Dr. Azizzadeh’s primary goal.

Am I A Good Candidate for Facial Nerve?

In deciding whether to have cosmetic surgery, patients should examine many factors that extend beyond the surgery itself.

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Surgical Options for Facial Paralysis

In treating facial paralysis, Dr. Azizzadeh takes a multi-faceted approach to fulfill multiple objectives. In the interest of helping his patients find the maximum amount of relief from facial paralysis, he concerns himself with both functional and aesthetic issues. Each step he takes is designed to achieve the following purposes:

  • Restoration of functional facial movement
  • Restoration of dynamic and symmetrical smile
  • General improvement of facial appearance
  • Prevention of eye-related complications

In performing facial paralysis surgery, Dr. Azizzadeh assembles a team of world-class otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists and physical therapists to help patients through every aspect of treatment and recovery. From beginning to end of facial paralysis surgery, patients can rest assured they are in the hands of a dynamic, integrated team of individual experts.

In facial paralysis treatment, there are many different surgical options. The field is ever evolving, bearing innovative approaches to give patients maximum relief. Following is a summary of some procedures Dr. Azizzadeh may use to help patients thrive:

Eyebrow and Eyelid Region:

  • Gold weight placed under upper eyelid to assist eyelid closure
  • Tightening of lower eyelid
  • Brow lift to raise eyebrow position and improve eyebrow symmetry

Smile and Mid-face:

  • Nerve transplant to restore a dynamic smile
  • Facelift to lift drooping features and improve facial symmetry
  • Subperiosteal mid-face lift to improve drooping in the mid-face
  • Creation of nasolabial fold (smile line) when it has been lost to facial paralysis
  • Nasal reconstruction to improve breathing through the nose
  • Touch-up procedures to improve general appearance

Lower Face:

  • Wedge excision of paralyzed portion of lower lip
  • Asymmetrical facelift to restore symmetry between both sides of the face
  • Rehabilitation of lip depressor muscle

Trust Your Face to an Expert

As an internationally renowned facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Azizzadeh has been featured in major news outlets for his unrelenting expertise in this crucial field. Most notably, he was featured on Oprah for his groundbreaking facial nerve reconstruction on Mary Jo Buttafuoco, a prominent victim of a shooting.

Additionally, Dr. Azizzadeh has been featured in People Magazine, New York Times, Discovery Health, Los Angeles Times, Beverly Hills Courier, and many other prestigious media outlets. He authored the best-selling book Beverly Hills Beauty Secrets, and was the lead editor on a number of definitive medical textbooks, including Master Techniques in Facial Rejuvenation and Master Techniques in Blepharoplasty and Periorbital Rejuvenation. These textbooks have become a standard in the medical community and are used all over the world by board-certified plastic surgeons as well as training programs for up and coming plastic surgeons. He is the co-director of the annual, world-renowned Cedars-Sinai Advances in Multispecialty Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery Symposium and the co-director of the USC Facial Plastic Surgery Fellowship Program.

Schedule Your Facial Nerve Consultation

To learn more about techniques to restore function and aesthetics in your face, please contact The CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic surgery and schedule your facial paralysis treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh. We offer phone or Skype consultations for out-of-town patients.

Schedule Your Consultation Today Call (310) 657-2203

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