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Facial Nerve Disorder


Facial nerve disorders (palsy) can affect the health and comfort of the eyes. The facial nerves control the glands which secrete tears and the eyelid muscles that sweep the tears across the eyes to keep them lubricated. Facial nerve disorders can cause muscle weakness and an inability to fully close the eyelids, which causes dry eye and may lead to infection or scarring. More serious nerve disorders can cause paralysis, resulting in a drooping or frozen expression and drooling. The facial nerves also supply the ears, and in some cases, disorders can cause hearing and balance problems. A variety of disorders may affect the facial nerve. Problems may exist at birth, develop over time with certain diseases and tumors, or arise suddenly due to trauma, stroke, or unknown causes. Bell’s palsy is a condition of unknown cause in which facial nerve weakness or paralysis arises suddenly. It may be associated with a viral infection and can take months for partial or full recovery.

Evaluation of facial nerve problems may involve physicians in several specialties, including: neurosurgery, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, ophthalmology, internal medicine, radiology, and otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat). Diagnostic studies may include CT scans, MRI, hearing and balance assessments, vision exams, and visual field tests.

The primary treatment for facial nerve disorders focuses on maintaining lubrication of the eye by improving eyelid closure. Lubrication is essential to prevent and heal corneal damage. Common problems that can persist after facial nerve palsy treatment are dry eye, watering or tearing, recurrence of eyelid problems due to muscle weakness, and aberrant nerve regeneration causing abnormal facial movements or tightening.

As our patient you or your loved one will receive evaluation and treatment by one of our elite oculoplastic surgeons, each with advanced specialized credentials, who will provide you with the uncompromising care and extraordinary results we are known for.

Most procedures may be performed in an ambulatory surgery center setting. Outpatient (ambulatory) surgery helps to reduce hospital costs, personal expense, and length of stay for patients needing surgery. For those times when surgery is best performed at a hospital, TOC physicians have surgical privileges at all Austin-area hospitals and many ambulatory surgery centers.

We understand that any patient may feel anxious or apprehensive about treatment. Our goal is to help you or your loved one feel at ease. We engage each patient with sensitivity and respect for his or her individual needs.

If you would like more information about facial nerve disorders, please don’t hesitate to request complimentary information from TOC by email at info@tocaustin.com. You may also schedule a private consultation with a TOC physician.

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