Facial Palsy Specialist

Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD -  - Oculoplastic Surgery

Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD

Oculoplastic Surgery located in Beverly Hills, CA

Facial palsy can leave your face looking saggy and droopy, especially around the eyelids. Fortunately, Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD, is a world-renowned oculoplastic surgeon who treats a variety of facial paralysis cases at his office in Beverly Hills, California. After a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Douglas can use nonsurgical or surgical interventions to restore your natural facial structure. For more information, call Dr. Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD, or schedule an appointment online today.

Facial Palsy Q&A

What is facial palsy?

Facial palsy, or Bell’s palsy, is a sudden weakness in the muscles in one half of your face. Similar to when somebody has a stroke, facial palsy often results in a drooping eyelid and a one-sided smile. Unlike a stroke, which often takes physical therapy to recover, Bell’s palsy is typically a temporary condition.

While a mild case of Bell’s palsy lasts about three to six months, a more severe case can lead to facial nerve damage, abnormal growth of nerve fibers affecting movement (synkinesis), or partial or complete blindness.

What are the symptoms of facial palsy?

Facial palsy typically develops alarmingly fast, over the course of just a few hours or days. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Facial drooping
  • Drooling
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Reduced ability to taste
  • One-sided facial paralysis
  • Changes in tear or saliva production
  • Difficulty smiling
  • Minimized ability to close your eye

Many patients with Bell’s palsy report feeling like their affected cheek has no muscle tone whatsoever.

What causes facial palsy?

It’s unclear exactly why facial palsy occurs so suddenly, but experts believe it’s related to inflammation of the nerve that controls the facial muscles on one side of the face. This nerve passes through a corridor of bone in the face, which can affect the muscles that coordinate your eye and mouth movements.

Facial palsy is linked to a number of viral infections, including:

  • Herpes simplex
  • Chickenpox and shingles
  • Mononucleosis
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • German measles
  • Respiratory illness
  • Mumps
  • Flu
  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease

If you suspect you have facial palsy, the team may order an electromyography (EMG) to test for nerve damage.

How is facial palsy treated?

If your facial palsy doesn’t resolve itself within three to six months, the team can recommend the following treatments:

Physical therapy

Physical therapy massages and exercises may help prevent contractures — permanently tightened tissues, ligaments, muscles, tendons, or skin.

Medication

Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation surrounding the facial nerve that Bell’s palsy can temporarily paralyze.

Surgery

If facial palsy doesn’t go away on its own after 12 months, the team may recommend surgery to prevent the muscles around the eyelid from weakening any further. During this surgery, the team repositions the eyelid to help it open and close. This helps alleviate pain and dryness that occur when your eyelid can’t fully close.

For more information on facial palsy, call Dr. Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD, or schedule an appointment online today.

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