Facial palsy, also known as Bell’s palsy, can strike fast. Similar to what happens with a stroke, the sudden weakness in the muscles of half your face causes drooping and asymmetrical features. With a facial palsy attack, your affected eyelid might seem dragged down, and your smile might be lopsided.
Facial palsy typically only affects sufferers for a few months. However, severe cases can last for more than six months with risks of long-term nerve damage in the facial area. Long-term severe facial palsy can also threaten your eyesight. In fact, there’s the possibility of complete or partial blindness due to the effects of severe facial palsy.
From his state-of-the-art office in Beverly Hills, California, our renowned orbital and oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Raymond Douglas, can diagnose your facial palsy and recommend the right treatment options to correct your condition.
When facial palsy strikes
We’re still learning more about the causes of facial palsy. The condition may be related to inflammation in the nerves that control the muscles on one side of the face. Viral infections like herpes simplex, chickenpox and shingles, mononucleosis, and even the flu may also contribute to facial palsy.
Facial palsy attacks can happen very suddenly. Symptoms of facial palsy include facial drooping, one-sided facial paralysis, an inability to fully close one eye, and problems with drooling. Additional symptoms may include jaw pain and headaches, changes in saliva and tear production, and even a reduced sense of taste.
Treatment and support for facial palsy sufferers
Dr. Douglas can diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment plan to address your facial paralysis and other symptoms. He starts with a comprehensive evaluation, potentially including electromyography (EMG) testing to check for nerve damage.
Many facial palsy flare-ups resolve themselves within 3-6 months. After that point, Dr. Douglas might suggest additional nonsurgical or surgical interventions if they’re needed to address muscle weakness and facial structure deterioration.
Depending on your situation, you could benefit from:
- Corticosteroid medications to reduce inflammation around your facial nerves
- Physical therapy exercises and massage to prevent permanent tightening or contractures in your facial muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Surgery to reposition your eyelid and help your eye to fully open and close
For the support you need when dealing with Bell’s or facial palsy, get in touch with Dr. Douglas. His expertise and experience with cosmetic and medical issues in the face, and particularly around the eyes, make all the difference for people with facial palsy.
You can schedule your initial consultation appointment with Dr. Douglas by calling our office in Los Angeles, California, or booking online now.