Your ability to make expressions helps you build relationships and feel connected. Smiling makes you look friendly, approachable, and kind.
When you have facial paralysis, you lose this ability. Facial paralysis doesn’t just affect your mouth. Smiling is a full-face experience that engages the eyes, forehead, and cheeks. As a result of facial paralysis, you may also experience compromised speech and problems with eating and breathing.
A stroke, Bell’s palsy, congenital defects, cancer, and trauma can all be a reason for facial paralysis. Facial reanimation surgery can restore your smile and expressions. Our renowned plastic surgeon, Elliott H. Rose, MD, of The Aesthetic Surgery Center in New York City has years of experience in complex cases and is ready to help you, too.
Here’s what to know about facial reanimation.
Plastic surgery is restorative
Often, people think of those who get plastic surgery as vain. It’s something people get to look better and younger.
Facial reanimation surgery is different. Dr. Rose just wants to help you look, smile, and emote like everyone else.
Facial reanimation goals
Facial paralysis reanimation surgery primarily seeks to restore symmetry to the smile. The surgery provides both nerve and muscle function, and it also enhances the symmetry of the face, as facial paralysis usually affects just one side.
If trauma or an illness or disease caused your facial paralysis, Dr. Rose can transfer or connect working nerves to the paralyzed branches of the facial nerve. Usually, these techniques work best when done close to the time of paralysis, before muscles and nerves have time to atrophy.
Facial reanimation surgery to help someone with long-standing paralysis requires a different approach. Dr. Rose uses advanced techniques that involve transplanting a muscle from somewhere else in the body to replicate the function of your facial muscles. These transplanted muscles are repositioned along with their functioning nerves and blood vessels.
Facial reanimation surgery can do more than improve your look. It can help you speak, breathe, and eat more normally.
Dr. Rose customizes your plan to make sure you get natural-looking results, and you may need more than one surgery.
Treatment doesn’t end with reanimation surgery
Reanimation surgery is the essential first step in restoring your smile, but physical therapy helps you relearn how to use your facial muscles.
Over time, mirror exercises, Botox® injections, nerve grafting, and other procedures can further enhance your smile. Botox doesn’t intend to fix facial paralysis, but it can mask smile irregularities.
When to expect changes in your smile
It can take anywhere from three months to more than a year to restore function and a more normal expression. It really depends on the extent of your paralysis and the procedures performed. How your body responds and your commitment to outpatient therapy also play roles in your progress.
Facial animation is a delicate, technical procedure. Trust only the best when it comes to restoring your smile. Call The Aesthetic Surgery Center today and learn how Dr. Rose can help you restore your smile and other expressions. If you prefer, you can use our online tool to schedule your consultation.