Facial Nerve Center

Supportive and Comprehensive Care

The Johns Hopkins Facial Nerve Center provides advanced care to patients who experience facial nerve disorders including facial paralysis. With the help of our specialists, we develop an individualized plan that can improve your smile, blink, and overall well-being.

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Conditions We Treat

Nerve damage due to trauma or other conditions, such as Bell’s palsy or acoustic neuroma, can lead to an inability to move the muscles of the face, on one side or both. Facial paralysis can make it difficult to speak, blink, swallow or smile. When facial paralysis does not resolve on its own, surgery can address the problem.

  • Smile restoration
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Eyelid protection
  • Blink restoration
  • Unequal eye size
  • Facial rejuvenation in facial paralysis

  • Facial spasm
  • Facial nerve tumors
  • Lip incompetence
  • Speech improvement
  • Synkinesis
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Facial nerve schwannoma (in collaboration with the Facial Nerve Schwannoma Center)


What to Expect at Your Appointment

Our center offers options for improving facial paralysis from all causes and duration. During a consultation for facial paralysis, the surgeon performs a comprehensive facial examination to determine nerve and muscle function, static and dynamic asymmetries, facial movement deficits, facial asymmetries, eyelid, speech, nasal breathing dysfunctions and any eating challenges. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists provide input in the treatment plan to optimally meet the needs of each individual.

A number of non-surgical and surgical procedures can improve symmetry and restore movement to the upper and lower parts of the face. Some of these procedures involve moving facial nerves, tendons and muscles (or parts of them) from other areas of the body to the face.

Surgery to transplant muscle tissue may involve more than one procedure and hospital stays of few days for each stage. Your individualized treatment plan may involve one or more of these procedures:

Meet Our Physicians

Facial Paralysis Treatment: Before and After Pictures  

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  • Result after two stage cross facial nerve graft and Gracilis flap for smile restoration to correct right sided facial paralysis resulting from resection of acoustic neuroma. To produce an engaging smile the procedure is tailored to lift the upper lip to show teeth, define the smile lines to match the unaffected side, raise the Malar fat pads to reflect light and raise the corners of the mouth evenly. Right eyelid procedures were also performed to match the size of the unaffected side. The first and second procedures were performed 6 months apart.

  • Result of smile restoring surgery for complete left sided facial paralysis.

    Treatment: Dual innervation with a combination of cross facial nerve graft and hypoglossal nerve transfer. The cross facial nerve graft recruits facial nerve function from the normal right face to allow a spontaneous smile and movement on the left side. The hypoglossal nerve restores tone to the left face and keep the lips symmetric when she talks.

Gracilis Free Flap Surgery for Facial Reanimation | Kathy’s Story

After losing all movement on the left side of her face, Kathy consulted with Johns Hopkins facial plastic surgeon Kofi Boahene, M.D., who used a multiple vector gracilis free flap surgical approach for facial reanimation to create a complete smile instead of a Mona Lisa one. Within months of her surgery, Kathy began to get her smile back.