What are the possible complications of congenital facial paralysis treatment?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Alan D Bruns, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

The complications of facial reanimation in the early postoperative period include infection, hematoma, and the production of facial paralysis on the unaffected side in the case of a cross-facial graft. Long-term complications relate to the failure of the reanimation technique and lingual atrophy when a facial nerve-hypoglossal nerve transfer has been performed.

The primary care provider should routinely observe infants with congenital facial paralysis to ensure adequate growth and development. The facial nerve is responsible for providing oral competence in the oral phase of swallowing through the orbicularis oris muscle. When deficit in innervation of this muscle is present, the infant may have great difficulty with feeding because the ability to suck is impaired. As the child ages, speech impediments may become more obvious because of difficulty with oromotor tone; therefore, speech therapy should be considered. Routine ophthalmologic examinations are also indicated to ensure that the eyes are adequately protected.


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