In most cases of facial paralysis, one side of the face is affected while the other side remains animated. This can distort the features of the face, as well as limit function for speaking, chewing and eye movement. Nerve grafts and transfer are some of the surgical options available to restore movement to facial muscles to improve function and appearance. One technique that is used is cross-face nerve grafting, a surgery offered by Joshua D. Rosenberg, MD.
Joshua D. Rosenberg, MD, is a respected facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with a passion for helping those with facial paralysis find effective treatment options. His time spent as a founding member of Mount Sinai’s Facial Nerve Paralysis Program has given him the experience needed to perform the most advanced options in nerve repairs. For those with facial paralysis, nerve grafting can offer a solution to improve muscle function on the paralyzed side of the face, including the cross-face method.
What Is Cross-Face Nerve Grafting?
The idea behind cross-face nerve grafting is to use the working facial nerves on the other side of the face to drive function in the paralyzed side. To achieve this, a nerve is harvested from another area of the body to graft to the working facial nerve. The transferred nerve begins to learn the movements and function from the active facial nerve, usually over several months. Once the transferred nerve becomes active, it can be transferred to the paralyzed side to begin reanimating the muscles.
Cross-facial nerve grafting is best performed on those who have had facial paralysis for more than two years. If muscles have been stagnant for more than two years, a muscle graft or transfer may be needed. This surgery can be very successful, but it does require two years or more for the results to be fully realized and physical therapy is needed to retrain the muscles.
If you are interested in learning more about cross-face nerve grafting or other facial paralysis treatments, contact the office of Dr. Rosenberg today for a consultation.