Many people who have experienced Bell’s palsy or other types of facial paralysis may also suffer from synkinesis, or facial muscle spasms. Even when facial movement has returned, synkinesis can still impact the movement and appearance of the face. Joshua D. Rosenberg, MD, is a trusted facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in treatments for facial paralysis and the after effects like synkinesis.
What is Facial Synkinesis?
The facial nerves relay impulses that control muscle movement. When facial paralysis occurs, these nerve pathways can be interrupted, rerouted or moved, affecting different muscles. Nerve fibers may be impacting other muscles due to previous nerve repair surgeries or other changes in the facial dynamics. This can cause muscle spasms or simultaneous movement when the brain sends signals through the nerve pathways. Muscles may tighten or spasm, or certain muscles may move involuntarily when you voluntarily move other muscles. Some of the typical signs of synkinesis include:
- Muscle twitching in facial muscles
- Eyes closing partially when you smile
- Muscle tightening that causes headaches or facial pain
- Lifting of the cheek muscles when closing the eyes
- Tightness in the neck bands or checks
- Dimpling on the chin
To treat facial synkinesis, Dr. Rosenberg first must perform a thorough exam and evaluation. Each patient is different and may require a unique approach to achieve the desired results. Some of the possible treatments for facial spasms and symptoms caused by synkinesis include:
- Selective neurolysis surgery
- Muscle transfer
- Facial slings
- Eyelid surgery
If you have had Bell’s palsy or other facial paralysis and still are suffering from symptoms caused by synkinesis, there are treatment options available. Contact Dr. Rosenberg to explore treatments for your facial muscle spasms to improve your facial function and comfort. We have offices in NYC and Staten Island for your convenience.