Treatment options for restoring a smile

As Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Mr William Townley explains in his article - Facial Reanimation - Putting the Smile back in Patients with a Facial Nerve Disordethere are many causes of facial nerve injury. Therefore, patients need to be assessed on an individual basis to determine the likely prognosis and the best course of action. Facial nerve injury can affect patients of all ages.

Smiling, Eating, Speech and Eye Closure 

Facial expression is fundamental to human communication and so disorders of the facial nerve are socially and functionally debilitating. Often the simple act of smiling caan be affected by damage to a facial nerve. As Mr Townley describes, "The facial nerve powers the muscles that are responsible for essential emotional expressions such as smiling as well as basic functions including, eating, speech and eye closure. Facial nerve injuries can therefore be devastating, leading to significant disfigurement and impaired function." He goes on to say, "In particular, the inability to smile can have an appalling effect on quality of life".

Combining Effective Treatment Options

Many patients subsequently experience a reluctance to appear in public, and refrain from simple pleasures such as dining out. In addition, the streaming eyes, nasal airway blockage and oral incontinence that afflict patients with facial nerve disorders only contribute to the constant menace.

Mr Townley describes the following non-surgical and surgical treatment options:

Mr William Townley, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon explains the options from Botulinum toxin to surgery for patients with facial nerve damage. Click here for further information and full article.

The involuntary passage of urine or faeces. Full medical glossary
Tissue made up of cells that can contract to bring about movement. Full medical glossary
Relating to the nose Full medical glossary
Bundle of fibres that carries information in the form of electrical impulses. Full medical glossary
The use of physical therapies such as exercise, massage and manipulation. Full medical glossary
An assessment of the likely progress of a condition. Full medical glossary
One of a class of drugs that inhibit cholesterol formation in the liver. Full medical glossary
A substance poisonous to the body. Full medical glossary