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Facial Retraining

Facial Nerve Rehab

What is facial nerve rehabilitation?

Facial expression is one of the most important skills humans possess. The face shows expressions and facial muscles provide the ability to smile, pucker, blink and chew.

Neuromuscular Facial Retraining

Neuromuscular Facial Retraining is a specific program designed to retrain facial muscles for movement and expression after the Facial Nerve has been paralyzed.

Conditions that can cause facial paralysis

Bell's Palsy and Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
Facial, temporal bone or head traumas
Acoustic neuromas
Facial schwannomas
Paratoid tumors
Lyme Disease
Skull based tumors and other tumors affecting facial movements
Vascular damage
Infections
Cerebrovascular accidents (CVA)
Congenital abnormalities

Goals of neuromuscular facial retraining

Normalize movement of facial muscles
Increase symmetrical movement patterns of the face
Increase volitional movements of the face
Inhibit undesired movements and synkinesis
Normalize muscular tone

What is involved in facial retraining therapy?

A thorough evaluation of facial movements through observation, facial nerve grading scales, dual channel electromyograph (EMG) and sensation.

Active self training by the patient includes:
Individualized specific functional facial exercises
Isolated movements to decrease synkinesis and abnormal movement patterns
Supervised modalities of electrical stimulation, heat/cold, massage, eye care and vibration
Visual feedback with a mirror
Patient education
Dual Channel Electromyograph training using sensory, visual and auditory feedback to teach the brain to make new neurological connections for facial movements when the old ones have been damaged.
Frequency
Patients are typically seen once weekly on an outpatient basis and are provided a specific individualized home exercise program.
Outcomes of Facial Retraining
Outcomes at the Atlanta Ear Clinic and other centers utilizing this treatment intervention show up to 95% recovery in all treatment categories, even in cases of long standing paralysis.

Facial retraining requires time, effort and concentration by the patient, but the results are worth the efforts! On many of the patients treated, the results are so outstanding it is hard to identify which side of the face has been paralyzed.
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