Facial paralysis is a complex issue and the specific treatment required depends greatly on the cause of the paralysis. For most patients with Bell’s palsy, the facial paralysis is temporary, but sometimes the facial nerve is permanently damaged and requires surgical intervention. Other facial paralysis patients may also benefit from surgical treatment. Facial Nerve Decompression is a procedure that may help those living with permanent facial paralysis regain facial function and a more symmetrical appearance.
WHAT IS FACIAL NERVE PARALYSIS?
The facial nerve is used to control facial movement on one side of the face. If the nerve is damaged or stops working properly, it can become exceedingly difficult to smile, frown, and make other facial expressions.
Facial nerve paralysis requires immediate diagnosis and treatment. Failure to properly identify this issue may lead to permanent facial paralysis. By meeting with Dr Mitul Bhatt, a patient can explore treatment options to correct their facial paralysis symptoms.
FACIAL NERVE PARALYSIS SYMPTOMS
Common facial nerve paralysis symptoms include:
- Difficulty eating or drinking
- Sensitivity to sound on the paralyzed side of the face
- Difficulty opening and closing the eye on the paralyzed side of the face
- Ear pain (in or behind the ear)
Facial nerve paralysis symptoms that persist for many weeks or months may require surgical intervention. During a consultation with Dr Mitul Bhatt, a patient can determine if surgery or other treatment options can be used to address these issues.
WHAT IS FACIAL NERVE DECOMPRESSION TREATMENT?
Facial nerve decompression is a procedure that may help those living with permanent facial paralysis regain facial function and a more symmetrical appearance. It is performed when the facial nerve is being compressed in the bony canal of the temporal bone.
In some cases, the facial nerve is so inflamed that it becomes pressed, or cramped, within the confined space of the bony canal. When facial nerve decompression is performed by an experienced facial paralysis surgeon, releasing the pressure on the nerve can lead to a gradual improvement in facial paralysis symptoms.
CAUSES OF FACIAL NERVE COMPRESSION
Facial nerve compression can occur for various reasons, including infection, inflammation, or other damage to the nerve itself. In addition, head or neck tumor, or stroke may contribute to facial paralysis and associated compression of the facial nerve.
Dr Mitul Bhatt performs an in-depth evaluation of a patient’s facial paralysis symptoms. If Dr Mitul Bhatt believes a patient is dealing with a compressed facial nerve, he determines if microscopic decompression of the facial nerve or other treatment options can be used to correct this issue.
FACIAL NERVE DECOMPRESSION TECHNIQUE
Facial nerve decompression requires an advanced surgical technique. Thus, the procedure should only be performed by an expert surgeon who understands how to minimize patient risk.
Generally, facial nerve decompression treatment is performed through a middle fossa craniotomy and/or through the mastoid bone behind the ear. Pieces of the bone are removed so that the inflamed facial nerve can expand, and the pressure that may be causing some of the facial paralysis symptoms is relieved. Depending on the individual case, the surgeon may perform the procedure through the middle cranial fossa method or a mastoidectomy, or a combination of the two.
Dr Mitul Bhatt outlines all aspects of facial nerve surgery before treatment. He explains his facial nerve decompression technique in detail, as well as responds to his patient’s concerns and questions. In doing so, Dr Mitul Bhatt ensures his patient knows exactly what to expect during a facial nerve decompression treatment.
FACIAL NERVE DECOMPRESSION COMPLICATIONS
Facial nerve surgery risks include:
- Hearing loss
- Ear numbness
- Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
Dr Mitul Bhatt will not perform facial nerve surgery if he believes the risks of treatment outweigh the potential benefits. In this scenario, Dr Mitul Bhatt offers facial nerve decompression alternatives.
IS FACIAL NERVE DECOMPRESSION EFFECTIVE?
Facial nerve decompression is sometimes used to treat long-standing Bell’s palsy and other types of facial paralysis. It alleviates pressure on the facial nerve, and by doing so, often leads to progressive facial paralysis improvement and healing.
Facial nerve decompression patients often achieve the optimal results if they undergo treatment within 30 days of the onset of facial paralysis symptoms, according to Dr Mitul Bhatt. At this point, Dr Mitul Bhatt can use facial nerve decompression to eliminate facial nerve irritation before it becomes a permanent issue.