Facial Palsy Surgery

Restoring facial harmony after facial palsy

Introduction to Botox® for facial tightness (synkinesis):

Facial synkinesis (facial tightness) is a condition characterised by the unwanted movement or contraction of certain facial muscles that occurs with the intentional movement of other facial muscles. It often develops as a result of nerve damage or injury, particularly to the facial nerve, which controls the muscles responsible for facial expressions.

When the facial nerve is injured, such as in cases of facial paralysis or Bell's palsy, the nerve fibres may regenerate abnormally and connect to the wrong muscles or to muscles that were not previously connected. This abnormal nerve re-wiring leads to the phenomenon of synkinesis, where unintended muscle movements occur during voluntary facial movements.

Patients can experience significant discomfort with these unwanted movements.  Furthermore, the unwanted movements act to restrict the amount of desired movement in certain areas (such as smiling), or cause excessive movement in other areas (such as eye closure).

Botox® can be targeted to weaken the muscles causing the unwanted movements. This helps to improve the overall movement in the affected side of the face, whilst also relieving symptoms like pain and tightness.

Key details of the procedure:

  • Duration: 0.5 to 1 hours
  • Cost: $800 upwards
  • Anaesthetic: None, or topical anaesthetic cream
  • Length of stay: 0 days

Frequently asked questions:

Can Botox® completely eliminate facial tightness?

Botox® injections can help manage and reduce the severity of facial tightness but may not eliminate it completely. The treatment provides temporary relief by reducing muscle overactivity and improving the control of facial movements. Multiple treatment sessions may be required, and the effects typically last for a few months before a repeat injection is needed.

How is Botox® injected for facial tightness?

The injection process involves administering Botox® directly into the targeted muscles using a very fine needle. The specific muscles to be treated are determined based on the individual's symptoms and what is found when examining you. The procedure is generally well-tolerated, and local anaesthesia numbing cream may be used to minimise any discomfort.

What can I expect after receiving Botox® for facial tightness?

After the injections, it may take several days to a week for the effects of Botox® to become noticeable. Over time, the targeted muscles will weaken, reducing the involuntary movements associated with facial tightness. The treated area may appear smoother, and facial symmetry may improve. Pain and tightness should also reduce. The duration of the results varies from person to person but typically lasts for a few months.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with Botox® injections?

Botox® is generally considered safe when administered by qualified healthcare professionals. However, there are potential risks and side effects, including pain or bruising at the injection site, over/under treatment and allergic reactions. With time, some people can develop resistance to the Botox® injections, but this can be addressed by using a different formulation of Botulinum toxin.

Can Botox® be used in conjunction with other treatments for facial tightness?

Yes, Botox® can be combined with other treatment modalities for facial tightness, such as facial therapy or surgical interventions, depending on the individual's specific condition. A comprehensive treatment plan will be discussed with you at your consultation.