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Congenital Facial Paralysis

When facial paralysis is congenital, it is diagnosed as:

  • Mobius syndrome.  Mobius syndrome is a birth defect that results in the absence of the sixth and seventh facial cranial nerve.  These nerves control eye movements and facial expressions. A Guide to Understanding Moebius Syndrome [PDF] may be helpful for further information.
  • Non-Mobius syndrome forms of facial paralysis.
Congenital Facial Pain

Congenital facial paralysis has several treatment options, including rehabilitative therapy and surgery.  A multidisciplinary approach to your facial paralysis may include specialist from:

  • Plastic surgeons
  • Otolaryngologists
  • Neurologists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Speech pathologists

Treatment Opportunities
Facial paralysis can affect many parts of the face, including the eyes.  Because the eyelids do not close properly, they are at risk of infection, drying and scratching.  It is important that these patients to be evaluated by an experienced ophthalmologist.  Treatment for the eyes may include lubricating drops or ointments and/or surgeries to improve eyelid function.

The social implications of congenital facial paralysis are just as important as the physical appearance.  A child may not smile because it is difficult, or because the expected reaction is different.  Treatment in these areas includes therapies to encourage a social smile.  Some patients may also require surgery for deformities of the jaw or limbs, which can be associated with congenital facial palsy.

In the case of non-Moebius patients, 90 percent can expect improvement in their facial motor skills through a combination of surgery and rehabilitative therapies.