Facial Paralysis Surgery

Facial paralysis is a devastating condition that takes both a mental and physical toll on the affected individual.  Patients often feel ashamed or embarrassed by the effects of facial paralysis.  Dr. Velargo is sensitive to the fact that facial paralysis changes your life, but he is motivated to help you improve your physical and mental wellbeing.

In adults, facial paralysis is usually idiopathic (unknown origin) but some cases can eventually be linked to a viral infection.  These cases are generally referred to as Bell’s Palsy. Other cases of facial paralysis are related to stroke, diabetes, autoimmune disease, pregnancy, trauma, skin cancer, tumors of the face/ neck, or following surgery of the brain. In children, facial paralysis most commonly occurs from trauma during birth, though it can also result from rare genetic abnormalities/ syndromes or any of the adult causes.

Damage to the facial nerve may cause facial asymmetry in the form of facial droop, a crooked smile, a quizzical look, incomplete eye closure, or grimacing while talking, laughing, or attempting to smile.  Functionally, facial nerve injury may affect chewing and swallowing, breathing though the paralyzed side of the nose, eye dryness, excessive tearing, and corneal injury, and communication problems. Weakness of the eye muscle is particularly problematic because if it is not functionally addressed, blindness could result.

As a facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Velargo is keenly aware of the aesthetic and functional issues related to facial paralysis.  He specializes in static facial reanimation procedures.  Dr. Velargo is experienced in facial paralysis surgery and is a contributing author in the book, “Facial Paralysis: A Comprehensive Rehabilitative Approach”, which was released in 2014.

What can a Facial Paralysis Surgery accomplish?

Addressing upper face paralysis:

  • Brow lift is performed for a drooping brow.  Various techniques exist for surgically raising the brow.  Dr. Velargo will discuss your options in detail in consultation.
  • Botox, xeomin, or dysport is considered as an adjunctive procedure to fine tune symmetry with the non-paralyzed side.

Addressing paralysis of the eye muscle:

  • Placement of a gold weight into the upper eyelid to help with eye closure
  • Surgical tightening the lower eyelid to prevent corneal exposure, chronic tearing, and dry eyes

Addressing paralysis of the nose causing breathing impairment:

  • Functional septoplasty and rhinoplasty to open the nasal valves and breathing passage

Addressing paralysis of the lower face:

  • Placement of a sling that helps to suspend the paralyzed corner of the mouth for symmetry
  • Cheek Lift
  • Lower Facelift
  • Facial suspension

What happens during a Facial Paralysis Surgery?

All procedures are performed in a manner to obtain greater symmetry in the face.  Perfection cannot be promised.  Depending on the surgical procedures needed, this type of surgery can be performed under general anesthesia or under local anesthesia with oral sedation.  Dr. Velargo will discuss your options during the consultation.

What can I expect during recovery from a Facial Paralysis Surgery?

Your postoperative period and recovery time will differ depending on the specific combination of procedures selected.  Please see the specific procedure pages for more detailed information.

Dr. Velargo works closely with his patients in the postoperative period to ensure the best aesthetic outcome possible.

Does insurance cover Facial Paralysis Surgery?

Most Facial Paralysis Surgery is covered by medical insurance.  We will work with you to obtain coverage.


Contact the New Orleans Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery today to find out more about expert Facial Paralysis Surgery.