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What causes bilateral facial paralysis?

 This condition may be related to a congenital condition, such as Moebius syndrome, or can arise due to Lyme disease. Bilateral facial paralysis has a terrible impact on the patient, who is left unable to express emotions. With advances in modern medicine and under the care of Dr. Tessa Hadlock at the Center for Facial Plastic Surgery in Boston, positive changes are achieved. One of the most common causes of bilateral facial paralysis is Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition with an autoimmune component. A variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome involves only the face, called Miller-Fisher syndrome. A viral infection is often the trigger leading to these conditions. 

Woman with glasses smiling

Additional Causes of Facial Paralysis

Other causes of bilateral facial paralysis include bilateral skull fractures involving both temporal bones, certain kinds of brain infections like meningitis, and certain cancers like lymphoma that get into the spinal fluid, causing bilateral weakness. Sarcoidosis, a granulomatous (characterized by a mass or nodule of inflamed tissue) a response to inflammation) disease can also cause bilateral facial paralysis, as can certain kinds of leukemia, infectious mononucleosis, and acute HIV infection. Each underlying cause necessitates a unique approach to diagnosis and management.

What are the treatment options?

The treatment of bilateral facial paralysis hinges entirely on the underlying cause. For conditions such as temporal bone fractures, surgical interventions are often necessary to treat the structural damage. Other conditions require medical therapy to control the underlying disease responsible for the nerve problem. Given the diverse potential causes, personalized diagnosis and management are paramount when individuals develop bilateral facial weakness.

Facial reanimation surgery

Facial reanimation procedures involve various surgical techniques, each tailored to the patient's specific needs and the underlying cause of their paralysis. These techniques may include:

  • Nerve transfers: Dr. Hadlock and her team may utilize nerve transfers, where healthy nerves from other areas of the body are rerouted to the facial muscles. This allows for restored voluntary movement.
  • Muscle transplants: In some cases, muscle transplants are performed to replace damaged or non-functional facial muscles. This technique aims to recreate natural facial expressions.
  • Dynamic smile restoration: The ultimate goal of facial reanimation is to restore dynamic smiling. Surgical techniques, combined with post-operative physical therapy, work together to achieve this result.

Dr. Tessa Hadlock, a leading expert in facial nerve surgery, offers advanced surgical techniques to improve facial function and appearance for patients with bilateral facial paralysis. These procedures aim to restore facial symmetry, reduce synkinesis (involuntary muscle movements), and enhance overall facial aesthetics. Dr. Hadlock's extensive experience and innovative approaches provide hope and transformative outcomes for individuals with this challenging condition.

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Why choose us?

Selecting the right medical expert to treat bilateral facial paralysis is a critical decision. At the Hadlock Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, our team, led by renowned clinician-scientist Dr. Tessa Hadlock, offers unmatched expertise and a patient-centered approach. With over two decades of experience in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Hadlock has made groundbreaking contributions to the field.

Our commitment to personalized care means that each patient receives a tailored treatment plan designed to address the unique underlying cause of their bilateral facial paralysis. We collaborate with a team of experts to provide comprehensive care, from non-invasive therapies to complex surgical procedures. Our cutting-edge research ensures that patients benefit from the latest advancements in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

When you choose the Hadlock Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, you're selecting a team dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with bilateral facial paralysis. We understand the physical and emotional challenges that come with this condition and are here to provide hope, expertise, and compassionate care on your journey to recovery.

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Our job isn’t over until the patient is smiling

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