In many instances, facial paralysis, will take care of itself. However, in some instances where a person is deemed for surgery, we don’t categorize that as a curable condition. We are trying to fix the problem instead and that involves a surgical procedure of some type, whether it’s a nerve transfer or a muscle transfer to achieve that goal. There are many options for surgery available for facial paralysis patients and a lot of it has to do with where that patient falls. Are they in the early boat, which is up to 12 to 18 months after paralysis or sometime later than that, In individuals who are in the late category, which many are when they present to a facial paralysis specialist, it’s usually a movement of muscle that is required. In other words, we have to borrow a piece of muscle from one part of the body and move it into the location for the purposes of reanimating the face. One of the areas that we focus in on and facial reanimation surgery is the smile. The smile is an incredibly important function of the muscles of facial expression. And when we lose it is when we really see some of the psychological stigmata of facial paralysis. When we decide that a patient is a candidate for surgery, there’s really no other preparation that is needed. Patients are expected to fast the night before. The surgery itself, it requires a general anesthetic and in many cases, the surgery’s an outpatient procedure. On the day of surgery, you’ll arrive at the surgery center and you will have been fasting the night before. The anesthesiologist will interview you and you will be taken to the operating room where you will receive general anesthesia. The surgery can be expected to last anywhere between six to eight hours, depending on the actual procedure being performed. In some cases, you’ll be allowed to go home the same day. And in other cases, you may need to stay in the hospital for anywhere between one to three nights.
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