Smiling at a loved one. Enjoying a meal. Expressing your emotions. Usually we take those actions for granted - that is, until our facial nerves no longer work properly, and those simple acts become a challenge.
The facial nerve is critical for eye protection, facial expression, speaking, eating, and other basic functions. Facial paralysis, which results from injury to the facial nerve, can appear suddenly or develop gradually over time. This condition can take many forms, including facial drooping, involuntary movements, or facial tightening.
When facial paralysis occurs, it's because your facial nerves stop carrying signals to the muscles in your face. This can cause the muscles to stop moving on one or both sides of your face. Some facial nerve symptoms are temporary and get better over time. Others may be permanent, based on the underlying health problem.
Signs and symptoms of facial paralysis include:
- Inability to raise eyebrow
- Inability to close eye
- Eye dryness
- Eye irritation
- Facial droop
- Inability to smile, pucker, or frown
- Speaking difficulty
- Trouble eating
- Eating difficulty
- Cheek biting
- Tightness in face
- Facial pain
Based on the level of facial paralysis, this condition can be devastating to a person's well-being. Along with the physical symptoms, the emotional and social problems that come along with this condition are just as damaging. After all, it's part of being human to express emotions and communicate with others through facial expressions. Not being able to do that can cause a great deal of emotional distress and depression.
There's Help for Facial Paralysis
If you or someone you love is dealing with facial paralysis, there's help. At the Emory Facial Nerve Program, you'll be seen by a multidisciplinary team. You'll learn about the most up-to-date treatment choices for facial paralysis at one of the largest facial nerve programs specializing in the southeastern U.S. We're equipped to treat the problems that result from facial paralysis.
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment, please call 404-778-0278.