The face, head, and neck are highly innervated areas of the body. A trauma or condition such as Bell’s palsy can cause damage to the nerves in the face, leading to functional difficulties. Just as pertinent to nerve damage is the impact that an offset smile or asymmetrical facial features can have on a person’s sense of self. Our personality is largely presented in our facial features and ability to express with facial movement. Depletion of this ability simultaneously diminishes confidence. Facial reanimation is one way to restore the presentation of emotion with facial movement and, as a result, help the patient get back to being themselves.
Facial reanimation surgery is the procedure or procedures that are performed to reinstate function to raise the corners of the mouth and refine the general symmetry across the face. This can be achieved through a number of different techniques. For this reason, and because facial surgery carries the risk of further nerve damage, it is vital to obtain treatment from a highly-trained plastic surgeon with specific clinical experience in the area of facial reconstruction.
Dr. Henstrom is double board-certified, having completed necessary training in both facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and head and neck surgery (otolaryngology). We are proud that we can offer patients from Draper, Layton, and across the country the care they need in a comfortable environment from a staff that has the knowledge and passion that drives successful outcomes in facial reanimation surgery.
What Facial Reanimation Surgery May Involve
The objective of facial reanimation surgery is to restore movement to appropriate areas of the face, primarily the lower face using appropriate techniques based on the findings of a comprehensive consolation and examination of facial structure, musculature, and nerves. Some of the common techniques that may be used in this procedure include:
- Temporalis tendon transfer, which is a straightforward procedure in which the temporalis muscle and tendon are relocated to support normal facial movement.
- Masseteric muscle transfer, which reroutes a branch of the masseter muscle to a new location on the face.
- Gracilis muscle transplant surgery harvests a small amount of muscle from the thigh and installs that muscle into the face.
- Cross-facial nerve graft may coincide with muscle transfer as a way to support adequate contraction for facial movement.
- Hypoglossal nerve transfer repositions a small portion of the nerve that supports tongue movement to facilitate muscle function in an area of the face.
Facial reanimation surgery is a complex process that should only be performed by an experienced facial reconstructive surgeon. Call (801) 776-2220 to schedule a consultation at Utah Facial Plastics.