Paralysis of facial mimic muscles is the absence of arbitrary movements of facial mimic muscles, caused by the lesion of the motor centers of the brain, conducting the pathways of the central or peripheral nervous system. That is, it is a disease in which part of the face “does not work”. Paralysis of mimic muscles is always associated with a violation of conduction of the impulse on the facial nerve (VII pair of craniocerebral nerves).

Functions of the facial nerve

Facial Mimic Muscle Paralysis - symptoms and treatment

The facial nerve innervates (provides a connection with the central nervous system) the mimic muscles responsible for facial muscle movement and expression of all our emotions.
There are only 2 face nerves: the right and left nerves, each responsible for the corresponding half of the face. The facial nerve has five branches: the 1st branch intervates the muscles of the upper third of the face, the 2nd and 3rd branch intervates the muscles of the middle third of the face, the 4th branch is responsible for the movements of the lower third of the face and the 5th branch leads to the neck m. platysma mimic muscle. The facial nerve comes out of the skull through a single trunk through the stylus-shaped opening of the temple bone pyramid. The division on the branches occurs in the parotid salivary gland.
Violation of the integrity of the nerve will lead to a paralysis of mimic muscles, which it innervates. Accordingly, if the nerve damage has occurred in the cranial cavity, in the temporal bone channel and also before the branches have departed, the paralysis will manifest itself on the entire half of the face corresponding to the side of the damage. If any of the branches or several branches of the facial nerve are damaged, the paralysis will occur only in the areas of the muscles that are innermost to these branches. The most severe paralysis of mimic muscles is that of the facial nerve at the trunk level.

How does facial paralysis manifest itself? Symptoms of facial paralysis

Facial Mimic Muscle Paralysis - symptoms and treatment

It is manifested as follows: half of the face, or some part of it, does not express any emotions, no movement. A person can not smile, be surprised, etc. At rest there is an asymmetry of the face, and the side on which the facial nerve is damaged, is lowered down (brow, lower lid, mouth corner are lower, cheek tissue sagging). In mimicry, the asymmetry increases. All this leads to a decrease in social activity of people with this disease, there are difficulties in communicating with people. But this problem is not only in aesthetically unsatisfactory appearance.
There are also a number of functional disorders:

  • Diction disorder, pronunciation of many sounds is difficult, speech is inaudible, due to the lack of tone of the circular muscles of the mouth and cheek area muscles;
  • Difficulties in eating, especially in liquids;
  • Difficulties when brushing teeth;
  • Salivation is not uncommon;
  • Complaints about the lack of tears, incomplete closure of the eyelids, which leads to the development of keratitis, conjunctivitis, which may result in the loss of the eyeball. In this case, blepharoraphia (eye suture) is quite often resorted to, in which it is necessary to constantly use eye drops and ointments;
  • There may also be the opposite situation, where there is a constant flow of tears, due to the lack of alignment of the lower eyelid to the eyeball;
  • The emergence of difficulty in nasal breathing because the nose muscles do not work and a valve effect is formed.

All of the above symptoms significantly reduce the quality of life of the person diagnosed with this diagnosis.

Causes of facial nerve paralysis:

  • Benign and malignant brain tumors, which are most commonly associated with auditory nerve neuria;
  • Diseases and neoplasms of the middle ear;
  • Injuries and operations in the temporal area;
  • Traumas and operations in the parotid region, which is often a iatrogenic complication in the removal of pleomorphic adenoma of the parotid salivary gland;
  • Malignant formations of the parotid salivary gland;
  • Viral infections, including human herpes virus;
  • Idiopathic lesions – Bell’s paralysis.

Treatment of facial mimic musculature paralysis

Treatment of mimic muscle paralysis must not be postponed! In this case time does not stand still! It is not related to the nerve itself, but to changes that occur in mimic muscles. The nerve can also be restored 25 years after the first signs of paralysis, but it will not be possible to return the possibility of muscle movement. Modern studies show that the mimic muscles completely lose the ability to contraction after 2 years of absence of their movements. Muscles that do not receive functional load atrophy, muscle tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue, and such tissues are unable to contract.