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UK First - Unique Course Educates Clinicians on How to Treat Facial Palsy

April 13, 2008 11:00 AM

A unique course aimed at educating doctors in the United Kingdom on surgical procedures for patients with facial palsy has been run for the first time in Glasgow and highlights the plight of patients who suffer this condition.

Facial palsy is a condition caused when the muscles of the face do not function. For patients suffering this debilitating condition it can be both traumatic and confusing, and seeking medical help can be frustrating.

This unique two day course has brought together senior trainees and consultants in plastic surgery, ear, nose and throat, and ophthalmology to learn basic surgical procedures which can be used to help these patients.

The course also coincides with work underway to strengthen facial palsy services across Glasgow. A new appointments system and improved multi-disciplinary working will see major benefits in the treatment of patients suffering from facial paralysis.

Dr Stephen Morley, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: “Often patients suffering from facial palsy have no idea what is available and it can be frustrating for them.

“The aim of this course is to give clinicians who may be treating patients suffering from facial paralysis a basic knowledge of surgical procedures which can be used to help these patient.

“This course has never been done before and we hope if this first one is successful it will become a regular event for other clinicians.”

The course is taking place at the Canniesburn Research Trust, the Department of Anatomy, Glasgow University and has clinicians from across the UK attending.

CASE STUDY

Christopher is 15 years old and was born with facial palsy on his right side. The muscle that allows the eye to shut and the mouth to smile never fully developed in the womb and Christopher has been receiving treatment since he was three years old.

Last year Christopher was referred to Dr Morley who recommended surgery. Christopher has now undergone two operations, the second of which took place in January this year to replace the under-functioning muscle.

Both Christopher and Dr Stephen Morley are available for interview by contacting 0141 201 4429.


ENDS

Notes to Editors


What is Facial Palsy?

Facial Palsy is a disorder involving the facial nerve which can be the result of infection, injury or tumors.

What are the Symptoms?

Twitching, weakness and paralysis of the face are the main symptoms of facial palsy.

How can it be Treated?

An evaluation by a physician is required to determine the cause and which area of the facial nerve is involved, so that the best treatment can be prescribed.

A number of treatments are available dependent upon the cause. An antibiotic to fight bacteria (as in middle ear infections) or antiviral agents (to fight syndromes caused by viruses like Ramsay Hunt) may be used. If simple swelling is believed to be responsible for the facial nerve disorder, then steroids can prescribed and in certain circumstances, surgical removal of the bone around the nerve (decompression) may be appropriate.


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