Beverly Hills, CA, April 30, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Bell's palsy is a disorder that can cause facial paralysis due to damage of the nerves that control the muscles that control facial movement. The typical effects of Bell's palsy can include swelling and inflammation of the face and affects the nerves that sends signals to the brain, which then sends signals to a persons facial muscles. This condition can lead to facial weakness or long-term facial paralysis. Botox has been recently getting a lot of attention in the facial paralysis community and Dr. Babak Azizzadeh is one facial paralysis surgeon
in the field using Botox in this new way of treatment for facial paralysis.
With the introduction of Botox into the facial paralysis community, there is a large hope of optimism to treat patients who have Bell's palsy in the future.
Many of the top scientists and facial plastic surgeons in the nation believe that Bell's palsy is an activation of the herpes virus which is present in many individuals. Typically, only one side of the face is affected, but in some rare cases it can affect both sides of the patient's face.
One of the top facial plastic surgeons in the country is Dr. Babak Azizzadeh in Beverly Hills, California. According to Dr. Azizzadeh "the symptoms of Bell's palsy, must be assessed very carefully before an accurate diagnosis of Bell's palsy can be determined. We need to completely assess the patient's facial movements when smiling, frowning and raising the eyebrows. We carefully analyze the symmetry of the patient's face and wrinkles to determine the effect of Bell's palsy on the facial muscle tone." Since Bell’s palsy is just one of many different causes of facial paralysis
, Dr. Azizzadeh cautions that Bell’s palsy should only be diagnosed after all other causes of facial paralysis are ruled out. Individuals who develop facial paralysis over weeks or months need to make sure that other causes of facial paralysis such as tumors are not present.
Patients who have Bell's palsy typically develop some level of “synkinesis”, which is when a damaged nerve grows back into the wrong areas of the face, causing muscle responses to be misdirected such as when a patient is laughing or chewing, causing the patient's face to produce tears, or abnormal eye blinking when talking.
"When the nerve grows back, and it doesn't grow into the right place. You may smile or chew your food and your eyes will close. Or when you close your eyes your mouth may begin to twitch." According to Dr. Azizzadeh.
Dr. Azizzadeh has found Botox to be of great use for patients with Bell's palsy to relieve the symptoms of synkinesis. "With Botox, we can isolate some of those spastic muscles in the face so that the synkinesis is less pronounced." Dr. Azizzadeh and his colleagues will have patient's work with a facial retraining specialist along with physical therapy to reduce the spasms and in a sense retrain the patient's brain to make the facial muscle movements as optimal as possible.
It is important to recognize the Bell's palsy and synkinesis symptoms as early on as possible and start treating the symptoms with physical therapy as soon as possible.
In the 1970s Botox was used to relax the eye muscles in cross-eyed patient's who had overactive twitches and spasms. Since this time, Botox has been a powerful tool in easing the effects of Bell's palsy and synkinesis. Botox can also make the symptoms of pain and discomfort of Bell's palsy subside. When Botox is injected into the neck or cheek areas directly. It can give patients of Bell's palsy a more symmetrical look and increased comfort.
It is important to use the smallest dose possible to Botox to administer to the patient as well as the intervals of injections should be spaced apart for as long as possible. While the Botox will prevent unwanted muscle movements and spasms, the patient needs to work daily to improve muscle spasms and unwanted facial movements.
Botox is genetically engineered protein that will weaken or inactivate muscles on the face. With consistent neuromuscular retraining along with the use of Botox, the patient is able to reinforce and correct isolated facial movements.
Dr. Azizzadeh has found that tiny amounts of Botox injected into the facial muscles will begin to take effect 24 to 72 hours after treatment, and the effect will gradually built up over a period of time. During this time, new nerves will sprout and form. The patients muscular control will return to them with any few months. Typically, the injections must be repeated every three to six months depending on the severity of the patient's Bell's palsy.
About Dr. Azizzadeh
Dr. Babak Azizzadeh is a Harvard-trained and board certified facial plastic surgeon that specializes in Botox treatment for patients with Bell's palsy and synkinesis.
You can get more information on Dr. Azizzadeh and the use of Botox with the treatment of Bell's palsy/synkinesis at www.facialparalysisInstitute.com located in Beverly Hills, California and the greater Los Angeles region.