Skip Navigation

COVID-19 Update

Facial Pain and Facial Paralysis

A woman looks out her window.

If you suffer from facial paralysis or chronic facial pain, there are several options to consider when searching for treatment including surgery, pain management, and rehabilitation therapies. Our patients are all ages and experience facial pain or paralysis due to trauma, illness, surgery, strokes or congenital conditions. We also treat chronic facial pain patients and are on the forefront of new methods in treating these devastating conditions.

Why choose Johns Hopkins?

Often sufferers of these conditions feel there is no hope. We provide a comprehensive approach to treating patients with facial paralysis and/or chronic facial pain that can include pain management, rehabilitation therapies, or surgery to help relieve symptoms. Our experts consult with each other often, are leaders in their field and conduct research in the treatment of chronic facial pain. Over years of practice, they have built a reputation as being among the best facial reconstruction surgeons in the country. 

Conditions We Treat

  • Facial paralysis, an inability to move the muscles of the face on one or both sides.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a condition characterized by pain coming from the trigeminal nerve, which affects the face — most commonly one side of the jaw or cheek.
  • Trigeminal neuroma, rare tumors that may involve any part of the nerves of the face.
  • Moebius syndrome, a rare congenital (present at birth) condition that results from underdevelopment of the facial nerves that control some of the eye movements and facial expressions.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Surgery | Michelle's Story

Michelle's debilitating facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia prevented her from working, speaking with friends and family, and simple pleasures like cooking and cycling with her husband. Watch as her life has turned around following microvascular decompression surgery by Dr. Michael Lim.

Treatment Options

Pain Management

Non-trigeminal neuralgia patients are typically suffering from facial pain due to injury or surgical trauma to the face.  For these patients we offer a combination of medications, nerve blocks, rehabilitation therapies, and ​surgical release.

Rehabilitation Therapies

1. Neuromuscular rehabilitation.  These include a range of motion exercises, teaching and strengthening the muscles. The goal of neuromuscular rehabilitation is to facilitate the ones we want to work and inhibit the ones that are not operating efficiently.

Within this category are two popular forms of therapy:

  • Mirror therapy.  Patients look in mirror as they perform certain exercises in order to receive visual cues and feedback from their movements
  • Biofeedback.  Surface electrodes are placed on a patients’ face.  These electrodes only sense what the muscles are doing and provide feedback as to their motor activity.  As patients practice their exercises, the feedback assists them in learning to efficiently use their muscles.  The machine also picks up when muscles are overactive and helps in teaching patients the proper way to do an exercise.

​​​2. Massage. By gently manipulating the muscles and nerves in the face, the therapist can provide another form of stimulation and help the patient to identify certain feelings and patterns.


These surgeries are tailored to your individual needs. There are two kinds of surgeries our reconstructive experts perform to treat facial paralysis:

  • The goal of dynamic restoration of facial paralysis is to reanimate the face by performing nerve grafts and muscle transfers. These procedures can be used to restore your smile and improve facial movement and symmetry.​ 
  • Static surgeries are performed to improve facial symmetry without restoring movement.  Facial slings can be inserted to correct facial drooping. Other static operations include brow lifts, upper and lower eyelid surgery and facelifts. These operations are often used in mild forms of facial paralysis or in patients who are elderly or otherwise cannot tolerate a more lengthy, complex surgery.

Our Facial Pain and Paralysis Surgeons

Photo of Dr. Oluseyi Aliu, M.D.

Aliu, Oluseyi, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Photo of Dr. Damon Sean Cooney, M.D., Ph.D.

Cooney, Damon Sean, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Clinical Director, Face Transplant Program, Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center
Clinical Co-Director, Penile Transplantation, Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center
Photo of Dr. Sashank Kurapati Reddy, M.D., Ph.D.

Reddy, Sashank Kurapati, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Medical Director, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures Johns Hopkins University
Photo of Dr. Richard James Redett, III, M.D.

Redett, Richard James, M.D. III

Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Professor of Pediatrics
Interim Director, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Director, Pediatric Plastic Surgery
Director, Cleft Lip and Palate Center
Clinical Director, Genitourinary Transplant Program
Co-Director, Brachial Plexus Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Associate Director, Pediatric Burn Program
Photo of Dr. Gedge David Rosson, M.D.

Rosson, Gedge David, M.D.

Associate Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Associate Professor of Oncology
Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Facial Palsy Center
Director of Breast Reconstruction
Photo of Dr. Robin Yang, D.D.S., M.D.

Yang, Robin, D.D.S., M.D.

Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
back to top button