What Causes Facial Nerve Paralysis?
The facial nerve controls all of the muscles in the face. It extends down from the side of the skull, and divides into smaller branches that connect to various muscles used to control the eyebrows, eyelids, mouth and lips.
Once the facial nerve is damaged for any reason, it can prevent you from moving certain muscles in the face – leading to facial paralysis. There are many ways for the facial nerve to become injured. With that said, the most common causes of facial paralysis and facial nerve injury include:
The most common type of facial paralysis is Bell’s palsy. It’s a facial nerve disorder that causes sudden paralysis or weakness of the facial muscles on one side of the face.
The facial nerve passes directly through the parotid gland. As such, when parotid tumors are surgically removed, the facial nerve may be damaged or cut.
Other tumors and cancers
Both benign and malignant tumors can cause facial paralysis in two ways. They may grow on the facial nerve and prevent it from functioning properly, or they may lead to the facial nerve being damaged during surgery to remove the tumor.
Head trauma may result in damage to the facial nerve, which can lead to facial paralysis or weakness.
Synkinesis is a common problem associated with facial paralysis. It develops due to nerve fibers of the facial nerve implanting into different muscles while it’s healing, resulting in unwanted facial movements.
The extent of your facial paralysis, as well as your treatment, will depend largely upon the underlying cause. As such, Dr. Ridgway will take care to definitively determine what led to your condition, before composing a customized treatment plan designed to resolve your paralysis as completely and effectively as possible.