Ask the Mayo Mom: Facial paralysis and reanimation surgery


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Facial paralysis can affect one side or both sides of the face and can affect eye closure, the smile and lower lip movement. Facial paralysis can be caused by a variety of syndromes and can also be the result of a birth defect, a tumor, or trauma.

When facial paralysis occurs in children, it impairs a child’s ability to move their facial muscles and show facial expression. Surgery can be done to reanimate the face and give children back the ability to show their smiles and expressions on the outside.

The Facial Paralysis and Reanimation Clinic at Mayo Clinic Children's Center brings together a team of experts including neurologists, plastic surgeons, optometrists and physical therapists to develop a treatment plan tailored to each child.

On this Ask the Mayo Mom edition of the Q&A podcast, host Dr. Angela Mattke is joined by two experts— Dr. Samir Mardini, a plastic surgeon and chair of the Division of Plastic Surgery and co-director of the cleft and craniofacial clinic at Mayo Clinic Children's Center, and Dr. Waleed Gibreel, a craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeon at Mayo Clinic — to discuss facial reanimation surgery in children.

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