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From Tragedy to Triumph: Five Year-Old Victim of Domestic Violence with Severed Facial Nerves is Smiling Again After Cutting-Edge Facial Plastic Surgery in San Salvador

Beverly Hills, CA, August 20, 2009 --( Madeline is a 5-year-old who was atrociously slashed earlier this year by her father in a domestic violence act in her home in San Salvador. As luck would have it, Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, the director of the Facial Paralysis & Bell’s Palsy Foundation was on a medical mission trip in conjunction with the Global Smile Foundation in San Salvador just after the violent act occurred.

The Facial Paralysis & Bell’s Palsy Foundation was founded by Dr. Azizzadeh in 2008 in order to coordinate non-profit activity such as research, outreach and pro-bono facial reconstruction for individuals suffering from facial paralysis. The Global Smile Foundation (GSF) is a Massachusetts not-for-profit actively involved with medical global outreach programs in countries in Latin America, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.

Facial paralysis can lead to a number of facial disfigurements, including inability to smile, properly speak, chew, and blink. This can be significant in a young child who can become a social outcast. The most common cause of facial paralysis is Bell’s palsy, which results from swelling of the facial nerve due to the herpes virus. Bell’s palsy affects about 40,000 individuals in the United States annually. In addition to Bell’s palsy, facial paralysis can also result from trauma, tumors, congenital disorders, neurologic diseases, infections, and metabolic reasons.

When Dr. Azizzadeh was notified about Madeline while on this medical mission trip in El Salvador, he immediately scheduled a visit with Madeline and her family to determine whether or not the young girl might have a facial nerve injury that can be corrected. Dr. Azizzadeh went to the Bloom Pediatric Hospital where he found out that, unfortunately, Madeline did indeed have complete right facial paralysis from the laceration.

Madeline showing evidence of complete right facial paralysis

They say timing is everything, and for one very lucky five-year-old girl and a noted Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, the saying certainly came true recently in San Salvador.

Fortunately, both Dr. Azizzadeh and Madeline were in the right place at the right time. Dr. Azizzadeh is one of the few facial plastic surgeons experienced in facial paralysis and nerve reconstruction in the country. He gained significant accolades for the restoring Mary Jo Buttafuoco’s smile with cutting-edge facial plastic surgery, which was captured by The Oprah Winfrey Show.

As luck would have it, Madeline’s unfortunate slashing event had happened just a week earlier giving Dr. Azizzadeh the opportunity to attempt immediate repair. As a result, Dr. Azizzadeh went ahead and took Madeline to the operating room where he was able to find the cut edges of the facial nerve and reattach them under high magnification and specialized sutures. Dr. Azizzadeh recalls that “This was just an amazing coincidence; I feel so fortunate that I was able to help a beautiful young girl regain her smile.” Thanks to prompt treatment and excellent timing, Madeline will likely have a near normal smile because of her young age and the surgeon’s ability to treat her so early after her injury.

Contact Information
Facial Paralysis Institute
Dr. Babak Azizzadeh
(310) 657-2203

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