Facial Nerve Center

The OHSU Facial Nerve Center offers multidisciplinary treatment for children and adults with facial nerve disorders. Our doctors and therapists have keen understanding of the significant challenges that patients with facial paralysis encounter in daily life and society. Our team works closely together to use their expertise to create an individualized plan for each patient to improve facial function, eye protection, facial appearance, communication, and over-all well-being. Patients with sudden new facial weakness or long-standing, chronic facial paralysis are treated at the clinic. A full range of therapies are available with include rehabilitation, retraining, neuromodulation, and surgical treatments.

Make an appointment

Call 503-494-8879

Our providers

Common symptoms

Facial nerve disorders lead to loss of facial voluntary control of movement and can lead to facial weakness or inmobility, facial spasms or involuntary contractions or tics, inability to smile, and facial drooping. Combined, these symptoms can profoundly affect our ability to communicate, how we express emotions and how other perceive us. 

Facial paralysis affects different parts of the face, and common symptoms include: 

Eyelid and brow region

  • Droopy eyebrow and eyelid 
  • Inability to completely close the eye 
  • Dry eye and excessive tearing
  • Involuntary eye closure 
  • Corneal scarring 
  • Red eye 
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain or discomfort 

Mouth and smile

  • Inability to smile
  • Difficulty with speech and eating 
  • Frequent biting of the lips or inside cheek 
  • Drooling 
  • Inability to keep food in mouth 

Midface

  • Droopy cheek
  • Nasal obstruction 

Neck

  • Neck spasms 

Common conditions

The facial nerve center at OHSU treats patients with different conditions that affect their facial function.  

Conditions that affect the facial nerve and are treated at the center include: 

  • Bell's palsy (including incomplete recovery) 
  • Facial Synkinesis and Hemifacial spasms 
  • Blepharospasm - Facial nerve tumors 
  • Facial paralysis from acoustic neuroma tumors (also called vestibular schwannomas) 
  • Facial paralysis from head and neck cancers (including parotid gland) 
  • Facial paralysis from trauma 
  • Facial paralysis from brain tumors and facial spasms from vascular tumors 
  • Congenital facial paralysis (such as Mobius syndrome or congenital unilateral lip palsy (CULP)) 
  • Facial paralysis after surgery 
  • Facial paralysis from ear disease or ear surgery 
  • Facial paralysis from viral infection (including Ramsay Hunt Syndrome) 
  • Facial skin tumor 
  • Head trauma
  • Stroke 
Symptoms of facial nerve disorders can include loss of voluntary facial control.
People with facial nerve disorders may experience symptoms that include facial weakness or the inability to control their face muscles.
After treatment, people with facial nerve disorders can experience improvement in their facial movement.
Treatment may be an option to help improve facial movement.

Treatment

Treatment options we offer include: 

  • Rehabilitation services including mirror therapy and massage therapy, exercise, pain control, motor control therapy 
  • Surgery for brow and eyelid paralysis including brow lift surgery, eyelid weight placement, and ectropion correction  
  • Neuromodulation with botulinum toxin (also known as botox) 
  • Nerve transfers and selective surgical neurolysis - Gracilis free muscle transfer 
  • Regional muscle transfer and static suspension 
  • Meditation 
  • Mirror therapy 
  • Neuro glides 
  • Scleral contact lenses  

Research

Facial electrical stimulation to promote recovery in patients with facial paralysis from Bell's palsy (IRB 16901)

Description: Patients with complete paralysis and over 60 years of age are eligible to participate in a study to test electrical stimulation to improve recovery. Patients are randomized to sensory and subsensory stimulation. 

Electric stimulation is done at home with the equipment we provide. Participants receive monetary compensation for their time. 

Source: Medical Research Foundation of Oregon 

Role: Myriam Loyo, M.D., Principal Investigator  

If you are interested in finding more about this study please email or call 503-494-5678.

Exploratory Study of the Central Nervous System Response in Facial Synkinesis after Bell's palsy (IRB 16776) 

Description: Patients with and without synkinesis after Bell's palsy are tested by evaluating their central nervous system with functional MRI during facial motor tasks. This study will allow us to evaluate the way the brain changes in response to injury of the facial nerve. 

Role: Natalie Krane, study coordinator 

If you are interested in finding more about this study, please email or call 503-494-5678.