Face paralysis, partial or complete, can occur from stroke, surgery or genetics. This nerve weakness freezes the muscles in your face, limiting your ability to communicate with facial expressions and movements, smiles or frowns.
At UVA, we have introduced facial reanimation techniques that get your muscles and nerves back in action and able to move as normally and as spontaneously as possible.
Reanimating Smiles After Facial Paralysis
Smiles are incredibly complex. Recreating them properly requires a high level of precision and skill.
At UVA, rather than moving the entire facial muscles in a block, or all at once, we activate each muscle individually. We break down the process into tiny, precise pieces to improve the symmetry of your features.
Facial Reanimation: Nerve Grafts That Work
By taking a nerve from elsewhere in the body and transplanting it to the face (nerve graft), we can connect normal, active nerves to paralyzed muscles.
The nerve grafting process can involve multiple surgeries over several months. Ideally, this staged approach allows us to connect the normal side of the face to the paralyzed side. This means that when the normal side moves, the paralyzed side also moves, making for an overall balanced effect.
This nerve graft technique has greatly enhanced our ability to restore the quality of life to our patients.