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Facial Nerve Dysfunction

UC San Diego Health specializes in the treatment of facial nerve dysfunction as a result of infection, tumors, injury and congenital conditions.

Causes of facial nerve dysfunction include:

  • Viral or bacterial infection (may include shingles and otitis media)
  • Benign tumors (e.g., cholesteatomas, acoustic neuromas, facial nerve schwannomas, parotid gland neoplasms)
  • Injury (e.g., motor vehicle collisions)
  • Congenital conditions (e.g., 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.


After diagnosis, the team employs a range of treatment options, including newly developed therapies not yet available in other hospitals. To address facial nerve conditions, our team regularly makes use of:

  • Facial nerve compression surgery
  • Neuromuscular retraining
  • BOTOX injection
  • Static facial reanimation surgery (alleviates the symptoms of facial paralysis but does not involve nerve or muscle transfer)
  • Dynamic facial reanimation surgery (involves restoring facial nerve function through nerve and muscle transfer in the face)

Innovative Care

Our experts are dedicated to improving the lives of those with facial nerve disorders. This includes improving:

  • Appearance
  • Facial function
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Overall well-being
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 Health's Neurological Institute.

Leading-Edge Technology

We use leading-edge diagnostic technology to determine the cause and type of facial nerve dysfunction. These technologies include:

  • Electrophysiological testing (e.g., electroneuronography (ENOG), electromyography (EMG)
  • Audiologic and vestibular testing
  • High resolution imaging with MRI and CT

Appointments & Referrals



La Jolla

Rancho Bernardo

Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors

Related Services

Clinical Trials


Our doctors are also faculty members in the Division of Otolaryngology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, conducting leading-edge research in otolaryngology: