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Facial Paralysis

While this is a very distressing condition, advancements in medical science offer new hope to those living with this condition. Dr. Tessa Hadlock, a facial paralysis specialist in Boston, has significantly contributed to understanding and treating facial paralysis.

Person with face being looked at

Types of facial paralysis

  • Congenital facial paralysis 
  • Bilateral facial paralysis
  • Facial paralysis after stroke
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
  • Facial drooping
  • Facial tumors
  • Facial trauma related

The causes of facial paralysis

Facial paralysis occurs when the facial nerve is damaged or dysfunctional, which controls the muscles responsible for facial motions and expressions. Numerous treatment pathways are available, such as facial paralysis surgery in Boston. Dr. Hadlock will assess and recommend the optimal course of treatment for you during your consultation.

This condition can result from various causes, including:

  • Trauma: Injuries, accidents, or surgical procedures that damage the facial nerve.
  • Tumors: Tumors affecting the function of the facial nerve.
  • Infections: Infections can impact the functioning of the facial nerve.
  • Congenital facial paralysis: Congenital conditions can impact facial nerve development.
  • Stroke: A stroke often impacts the function of nerves, including facial nerves.
  • Bell’s Palsy: A sudden, unexplained weakness or paralysis of one side of the face.
  • Autoimmune disorders: The facial nerve can be affected by nervous system diseases, including MS.
  • Lyme disease: An infection caused by a tick bite, which can lead to inflammation or damage to the facial nerve.
  • Facial paralysis after parotid surgery: Parotid surgery, often necessary for tumors or conditions of the parotid gland, may result in facial paralysis. Malignant conditions sometimes require removing segments or the entire facial nerve. 

Treatment options

Facial paralysis can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, affecting their ability to smile, blink, speak, and convey emotions. With advancements in medical science and the dedicated work of Dr. Hadlock, several groundbreaking facial paralysis treatments in Boston have proven to be very effective.

  • Medications: In some cases, medications like corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and improve nerve function.
  • Facial reanimation surgery: Dr. Hadlock has pioneered techniques in facial reanimation surgery in Boston, such as nerve transfers and muscle transplants, to restore natural facial movement and symmetry.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy and facial exercises can help maintain muscle tone and improve facial movement.
  • Nerve repair: Surgical procedures can repair or graft the facial nerve to restore function.
  • BOTOX: BOTOX injections can temporarily improve facial symmetry and reduce the appearance of wrinkles in cases of partial paralysis.
  • Fillers for facial paralysis: Patients with facial palsy can experience volume loss and soft tissue redistribution on the affected side of their faces due to loss of muscle volume and tone. Fillers such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, and calcium hydroxyapatite can restore volume to the face and help patients achieve a more balanced appearance. Providers can also harvest fat from patients using liposuction techniques and inject it into the face to restore volume with their own tissue. Dr. Hadlock is an expert at using facial fillers, whether synthetic fillers or autologous fat, to improve facial symmetry. We may inject fillers into patients’ lips to enhance their ability to eat, drink, and speak. 
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Bilateral facial paralysis

Bilateral facial paralysis is a condition in which both sides of the face are affected. This condition can be caused by a congenital condition, such as Moebius syndrome, or as a result of Lyme disease. 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. 

Other causes of bilateral facial paralysis in Boston 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.

Dr. Tessa Hadlock: International leader in treatments for facial paralysis

Dr. Hadlock is exceptionally well known in academic circles, with an international reputation. She has focused for over 30 years on facial issues at the intersection of aesthetics and facial paralysis correction in Boston and is uniquely qualified to take the best care of patients with this condition. Her life’s mission is to restore facial expression. There is no better feeling than seeing someone smile who had been previously deprived of this fundamental human tool: revealing communication, joy, and happiness to others. 

Her practice delivers 360-degree patient care, including a proper diagnosis, surgical, medical, and physical therapy, and additional maneuvers to optimize facial function. Dr. Hadlock is a warm and caring doctor who works with every patient as a partner during the journey. 

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