Facial Weakness or Palsy
Facial Palsy is a condition in which the facial nerve is weakened or damaged, resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis to the face. Facial muscles create a number of movements of the mouth, nose and eyes, and damage to the nerves sending the signals for this movement can affect how they operate. Palsy can give an unequal appearance of the facial features, and can affect smiling, eating, closing of the eyes and facial expressions.
The facial nerve is intimately related to the surface of an acoustic neuroma and is stretched as the tumour grows. Thus, removal of a tumour can compromise the function of the facial nerve, either totally or partially. Radiation treatment can result in facial weakness but the likelihood is much less.
Monitoring the nerve during surgery and advances in microsurgery have helped lower the incidence of facial weakness.
Many reconstructive techniques are now available to re-animate a paralysed face and should be available to those patients whose treatment results in facial weakness.
Some medical professionals, such as physiotherapists and speech and language therapists, also utilise trophic stimulator machines to assist with the effects of facial palsy or weakness.