What is Facial Reanimation Surgery?


Facial reanimation refers to a complex surgery(ies) to provide motion or “animation” to the face of a patient who has suffered facial paralysis.

Facial reanimation surgery for AZ patients can achieve “reanimation” after just one highly specialized operation, or may require procedures to be staged. Utilizing microsurgical techniques, a muscle from the inner thigh is transplanted to the affected side of the face, reconnecting nerves and blood vessels.


How does Facial Reanimation work?

Facial reanimation surgery is the process of surgically correcting facial paralysis; congenital or acquired through trauma or disease. Although there are conditions where facial paralysis has resolved over time, and normal form and function of facial features progressively restore themselves, therapy or surgical treatment is often needed to reanimate the face. Facial paralysis reanimation surgery primarily seeks to restore symmetry to the smile.

Associated procedures can also be performed to establish eyelid closure and to fill areas were affected muscle atrophy has occurred. In facial reanimation surgery, our reconstructive surgeon will attempt to rebalance the smile by restoring function in the paralyzed area. In cases of partial or complete paralysis, functioning muscles may be moved into those regions with the goal of restoring balance and form.

Ideal Candidates

Good candidates for facial reanimation surgery include those who are experiencing loss or alteration of voluntary movement and/or noticeable changes in one side of facial areas including:

  • Lips
  • Cheeks
  • Eyelids
  • Eyebrows
  • Forehead

Facial Reanimation Benefits

Facial reanimation procedure benefits for patients include:

  • Facial expression that matches more closely from side to side
  • Fewer problems with dry eyes or extra tears because their eyelids can close tightly
  • Better ability to eat
  • Better ability to speak clearly
  • Better ability to smile, express their feelings through their face and interact with others

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