Our facial paralysis group in Toronto has taken up this condition as its main focus of interest and strives to improve the lives of individuals stricken with its consequences.
Facial paralysis represents a weakness or paralysis of the muscles of the face which are used in facial expression. The paralysis may result from damage to the facial nerve, which controls these muscles, or damage to the muscles themselves. The facial muscles are controlled by the 7th cranial nerve also known as the Facial nerve. This nerve has multiple branches supplying areas around the forehead, the eye, the nose, the mouth and the neck. The muscles which are controlled by this nerve wrinkle of the forehead, raise the eyebrows, close the eyes, open the nostrils, purse the lips, show the teeth and control movements of the lips and cheeks. These muscles control the function of these structures and through their movements express emotion.
The causes of facial paralysis are numerous. Congenital facial paralysis is noted at birth and may be a part of a syndrome or occur sporadically in isolation. Facial paralysis may occur later in life and be caused by infections such as Bell's palsy, local growths and tumors on the face or tumors within or adjacent to the brain, such as an acoustic neuroma. Facial paralysis may also be caused by injury to the facial nerve along any part of its course from the brain to the face or by injury to the facial muscles themselves.
The facial paralysis team in Toronto provides comprehensive care for this complex condition. This care is provided through consultation with plastic surgeons, eye surgeons, neurologists, developmental psychologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists. The initial assessment is conducted by the plastic surgeons, Dr. Ralph Manktelow and Dr. Ronald Zuker. Assessments by other consultants are made as necessary according to the needs of the patient.