Facial Paralysis & Reanimation Center

Your face is one of the most identifiable things about you. When it has been altered by sudden or chronic facial paralysis, that can have a profound impact on your appearance. At NYU Langone’s Facial Paralysis and Reanimation Center, we understand the challenges of facial paralysis and specialize in creating a personalized treatment approach that is focused on achieving the best results for you.

Facial Nerve Paralysis in Adults

Medication, surgery, and rehabilitation therapy are used to treat facial nerve paralysis.

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The Facial Paralysis and Reanimation Center is led by a team of experts from multiple areas of medicine, including otolaryngology, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, radiology, and neurology as well as rehabilitation experts from NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation.

Causes of Facial Paralysis

Paralysis is caused by injury to the facial nerve. The most common cause of sudden facial paralysis is Bell’s palsy. It may also be present from birth, occurring during childbirth or as a result of a genetic condition.

Facial paralysis can also occur following a head injury or result from a bacterial or viral infection, including Lyme disease, infections of the middle ear, or herpes zoster oticus, also known as Ramsey-Hunt syndrome. The removal of intracranial or parotid tumors, stroke, or vascular malformations can also cause sudden facial paralysis.

Facial paralysis usually affects one side of the face. It may cause a person to lose the ability to smile, blink, or move their face in other ways. Certain areas of the face, such as the brow, the cheek, or the lower lip, might droop. This affects both your appearance as well as your ability to speak, eat, drink, and protect the eye.

Treatment for Facial Paralysis

At the Facial Paralysis and Reanimation Center, our experts meet regularly to discuss individual patient’s unique concerns. This collaboration among NYU Langone experts from diverse specialties results in a customized solution that is aimed at improving your appearance and restoring normal function.

The treatment options for facial paralysis are broad, and our experts guide you through the treatment process. Treatments can be medical, surgical, rehabilitative, or, more commonly, all three. Electrodiagnostic testing, including electroneuronography, electromyography, and audiology, is used evaluate the chance that the paralysis will recover on its own and not require surgery.

Often, medication can be used to treat facial paralysis. Interventions include botulinum toxin injection to treat uncoordinated facial muscle movements. Facial filler can even out any asymmetry within the face. If surgery is needed, our expert doctors determine the approach that is best for you.

Surgical treatments include:

  • browlift, upper eyelid weight placement, and lower lid resuspension for the eye and brow region
  • facial nerve decompression to reduce the harmful effects of inflammation on the nerve and jumpstart recovery
  • intracranial or intratemporal nerve grafting and rerouting to restore function to the facial muscles
  • local muscle transposition, contralateral muscle ligation, and platysmal ligation to treat the lower lip and neck
  • suspension slings to elevate the corner of the mouth and restore a symmetric smile, help with nasal breathing, and improve your ability to eat and drink
  • temporalis tendon transfer and gracilis free flap techniques to restore facial movement and function to the muscles of the face through surrounding nerves including the masseteric nerve, hypoglossal nerve, opposite facial nerve, and ansa cervicalis nerve

These surgical techniques are designed to provide a permanent solution that improves facial symmetry and function.