Facial Reanimation (Smile Surgery)
Smile Surgery (Facial Reanimation) in Palos Verdes
Facial paralysis is a severe functional and aesthetic disability. Simply put, the facial nerves on one side of the face are put out of action.
Those who suffer from it are generally familiar with this description as well as the topic of facial reanimation.
Facial Paralysis Can Be Caused By:
- Bell’s palsy
- Surgery for acoustic neuroma or facial trauma
- Genetic and congenital causes, such as birth trauma and Moebius syndrome
Paralysis can cause severe facial drooping, inability to close the eye properly (resulting in watering and inflammation), a lopsided or crooked smile, and drooling due to a lack of oral continence.
Facial reanimation is the correction of facial paralysis, which may be accompanied by facial rejuvenation procedures to restore facial symmetry and protect the eye.
What Is Smile Surgery?
‘Smile surgery’ is reanimation of the mouth that restores oral symmetry and the ability to smile. This allows the mouth to work properly during social interaction. The restoration of your smile is the centerpiece and the major technical challenge of surgery for facial paralysis.
The surgical procedure in established cases of facial paralysis involves the microvascular transfer of a functioning muscle in which the artery, vein, and nerve of the graft are connected to blood vessels and a nerve in the face.
The gracilis muscle is the one most often used. There is no functional loss when this is taken, and the scar lies inconspicuously down the inner thigh. With proper placement, the muscle lives on its own circulation and, when connected to the appropriate nerve, can restore symmetry by producing a smile on the paralysed side of the face.
Other common measures include placing gold weights in the upper eyelid to assist with eye closure and skin excision to correct brow drooping.
Why Treat Facial Paralysis With Surgery?
Patients with facial paralysis are often severely self-conscious, embarrassed, and reluctant to mix socially. Many become reclusive over time.
Restoration of the smile can break down this self-imposed barrier and permit patients to reintegrate with their family, friends, and workmates. This allows patients to resume living a more normal life. The dramatic effect of this operation cannot be overstated.
Frequently Asked Questions About Facial Paralysis Treatments
How long after paralysis do I need to wait before my smile reconstruction surgery?
In diseases where some spontaneous recovery may be expected over time (for example Bell’s palsy), enough time should be allowed for this to occur. In other cases where nerve destruction is certain (for example seventh cranial nerve resection), there is no obligation to wait.
Before undergoing surgery, a consultation with Dr. Boyd will help you determine your path forward.
How much does facial reanimation cost?
The cost of smile surgery will vary depending on the extent of the procedure, the complexity of the operation, various fees associated with the surgery, and insurance cover. However, it is usually a benefit of insurance.
Dr. Boyd will provide you with a personalized quote for your smile rejuvenation surgery during your consultation. His staff will also work with your insurance company to obtain coverage.
Are there age restrictions on facial reanimation?
Anyone struggling with facial paralysis is a potential candidate for smile reconstruction. However, the older the patient, the more difficult it is for nerves to regenerate once joined together. Based on this, Dr. Boyd may recommend less invasive treatment options or less extensive surgery for patients over 60.
Can I combine my smile reconstruction with other plastic surgery procedures?
Yes, you can combine facial reanimation with cosmetic surgery options such as a facelift or eyelid lift. Minimally invasive facial rejuvenation options such as BOTOX® Cosmetic and Silhouette InstaLift™ can also be used. These treatments can help your face regain a youthful and natural-looking appearance.
Want to Learn More About Smile Surgery?
If you want to learn more about treatments for facial paralysis, please schedule a consultation with Dr. J. Brian Boyd by filling out our online form. You can also reach us by calling our office at (310) 597-4734.