Facial reconstruction surgery could be required for a number of reasons. Some patients who have experienced Bell’s palsy maybe left with a permanent weakness to one side of their face. The same deformity can be a result of treatment for a brain tumor or after a traumatic injury resulting in nerve damage. Patients with these facial asymmetries have multiple surgical options available to them for corrective surgery and these are procedures that are provided through our office.
There are a variety of surgical techniques for improvement of the facial deformity and each individual is assessed and an individual treatment plan is identified.
The facial reconstruction can involve a face-lifting procedure, a supporting of the paralyzed face with a static sling or procedures to camouflage the discrepancy in the muscle activity to include brow lifts, upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty, the insertion of Botox and the addition of fillers. Perfect symmetry is unlikely to be achieved because of the magnitude of the underlying problem. However, patients will have a substantial improvement in their appearance but also in their function. The reconstruction procedures will often help control mouth movements, improve breathing because of stabilization of the airway, improve speech related to balancing of the lip positioning as well as provide better ability to eat comfortably.
There are multiple options available and all of these will be discussed during consultation at the facial palsy clinic which is held every 3 months at Saint Paul’s Hospital.
Dr. Van Laeken works in conjunction with Susan Rankin, a physiotherapist who treats people with facial palsies. Until this year when Susan trained four more therapists, she was the only therapist in B.C. who did facial neuromuscular retraining.