Facial Nerve Clinic
Related Services at UC San Diego Health System
Bringing Back Smiles
This patient had a skin cyst in the ear (cholesteatoma) that became infected. The cyst and multiple infections caused degeneration of the facial nerve and caused paralysis. During the course of multiple surgeries, Dr. Quyen Nguyen removed the cholesteatoma, and performed a nerve graft to bring back this patient’s smile.
The facial nerve clinic at UC San Diego Health System is a specialty center for facial nerve dysfunction. The facial nerve can be affected by infection, tumors, injury and congenital condition.
- Viral or bacterial infection can cause the nerve to swell causing paralysis. These infections may include shingles (herpes virus) and otitis media.
- Benign tumors including cholesteatomas, acoustic neuromas facial nerve schwannomas or parotid gland neoplasms can also impact the facial nerve.
- Injury including motor vehicle collisions (trauma) or surgery can cause facial nerve dysfunction.
- Congenital conditions such as Moebius syndrome.
Facial nerve disorders can cause weakness, paralysis and involuntary movement or twitching. These symptoms can be challenging to live with, affecting appearance, and impacting the ability to close the eyes, smile and speak. Experts at the Facial Nerve Clinic are dedicated to improving appearance, facial function, non-verbal communication, and overall wellbeing of people with facial nerve disorders. Our multidisciplinary approach provides expertise in otology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and physical therapy. We work side-by-side with our colleagues at UC San Diego Neurological Institute.
At UC San Diego Health System, we utilize leading-edge diagnostic technology to determine the cause and type of facial nerve dysfunction. These technologies include electrophysiological testing, such as electroneuronography (ENOG) and electromyography (EMG), audiologic and vestibular testing, and high resolution imaging with MRI and CT.
After correct diagnosis, the team utilizes a range of treatment options including newly developed therapies not yet available in other hospitals. Our team regularly makes use of facial nerve compression surgery, neuromuscular retraining, BOTOX injection, and static and dynamic facial reanimation surgeries to address facial nerve conditions.
“Dynamic” facial reanimation surgery involves restoring facial nerve function through nerve and muscle transfer in the face. “Static” surgery alleviates the symptoms of facial paralysis but does not involve nerve or muscle transfer.
UC San Diego Facial Nerve Clinic provides expert care of patients with facial nerve dysfunction, and offers patients the chance to receive newly developed therapies through health research studies. Read more about research and clinical trials related to head and neck surgery.