What is facial paralysis
Facial paralysis is a devastating condition caused by injury or inflammation of the facial nerve. This nerve is essential to the movement of all facial muscles which allow expression and non-verbal communication. Facial nerve function is also responsible for eyelid closure and eye protection, keeping food and saliva in your mouth when you chew and keeping your nose passage open when you breathe.
Imagine how hard it would be to shower without being able to close your eye, or how hard it would be to eat in public without being able to keep food in your mouth. These are just two examples of the major problems which patient's with facial paralysis suffer.
Facial paralysis is very important to Australia. Our sun exposed continent has a very high rate of skin cancer and this translates into a significant number of head and neck cancers. When the cancer spreads to the parotid gland (a saliva gland in front of your ear) it can cause facial paralysis which is unlikely to get better and surgery is essential.
Another important cause is bell palsy, an inflammatory condition of the facial nerve thought to be caused by a virus. Although in many cases the disorder gets better within a few weeks to months, in a significant minority there are ongoing issues with facial palsy which require medical treatment.
Every patient who had a facial palsy needs a thorough medical examination by a qualified practitioner familiar with the disorder and a careful follow up to ensure the prevention of long lasting complications.
Our group participates in a number of clinical trials and research projects incorporating state of the art technology into the diagnosis and management of facial palsy. Contact us through the website to discuss whether you may be suitable to participate in one of our projects.
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