Injury to the facial nerve by surgery, tumour or trauma may cause facial muscle weakness, leading to facial asymmetry, a difficulty closing the eye or problems with smiling. Bell’s palsy is a common facial nerve condition of unknown etiology that is usually not treated with surgery.
Patients with facial nerve damage caused by surgery, tumor or trauma should have an assessment by a surgeon specializing in facial nerve reconstruction. Ideally patients should be seen within 3 months of injury. Some reconstructive options are time sensitive. Excessive delay can limit the types of reconstructive options.