Facial Nerve Surgery

Facial Reanimation Surgery
Facial Nerve Surgery

Procedure overview

Treatment Options for Corrective Surgery of Facial Paralysis.

Facial paralysis weakens the muscles on one or both sides of the face as a result of a birth defect, stroke, viral infection, tumour or traumatic accident. It can be devastating, but the good news is there are treatment options available for patients of all ages.

Corrective surgery for facial paralysis can be very complex. Treatment options will vary depending on your age and location of paralysis, among other factors. Such options may include nonsurgical or surgical procedures. Nonsurgical procedures may include neurotoxins to provide additional symmetry to the face by relaxing the stronger muscle. More impactful surgical procedures include muscle and nerve transfers to allow the use of the otherwise paralysed muscle. Additional adjunctive surgeries or procedures may also be recommended to help create symmetry and function in the face.

Table of Contents

Procedure FAQs

We understand that having surgery can be a big decision, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for each surgical procedure to provide you with more information and help you make an informed decision.

  • What causes facial nerve palsy?

    In many cases, no definitive cause for facial nerve palsy is observed (so-called Bell’s palsy), although a viral illness is highly suspected. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a rare cause linked to a known virus (varicella zoster), which also causes shingles. There are, however, many other known medical causes, including:

    • Birth defects
    • Trauma or injury (including after surgery)
    • Inflammation
    • Infection or virus (such as herpes simplex, shingles, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, Lyme disease)
    • Stroke
    • Tumours

  • What is facial palsy & paralysis reconstruction?

    Treatments and reconstruction procedures for facial palsy and paralysis are designed to restore function and aesthetics in patients affected by various long-standing and/or recent-onset facial nerve injuries.

  • What are the potential benefits of facial palsy & paralysis reconstruction? 

    Facial nerve disorders are extremely complex and can significantly affect the quality of life. Thankfully, patients who choose Dr Sorensen for facial reconstruction typically find life-changing benefits in his advanced treatment techniques. Expertly-performed facial reconstruction surgery can improve the appearance of the smile and profile and facilitate oral functions necessary for survival, such as proper eating and eye protection. No matter the specificities of your condition, rest assured that Dr Sorensen will personalise your care after a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, medical needs, and goals.

  • Who is a candidate for facial palsy & paralysis reconstruction?

    Patients who have facial palsy or paralysis resulting from a birth defect, stroke, viral infection, tumour, or traumatic accident may be candidates for facial palsy and paralysis reconstruction. The specific treatment options will depend on factors such as the patient’s age and location and the severity of the paralysis.

    There are many causes of facial nerve injury, and patients need to be assessed on an individual basis to determine the likely prognosis and the best course of action.

  • What are my options for facial palsy & paralysis reconstruction?

    Based on your diagnosis and a full medical and aesthetic examination, Dr Sorensen can design a customised treatment plan suited to address your specific needs with the most appropriate procedure(s).

    Listed below are interventions that can restore movement to the affected side of the face by either powering the normal facial muscles or by harvesting the power of other muscles to do a similar job:

    Free Muscle Transfer (Gracilis)
    The gold standard reconstruction in patients with long-standing facial paralysis. When powered by a nerve graft connected to the other (‘intact’) side of the face, it gives the best chance of a spontaneous and symmetric smile.

    Temporalis Sliding Myoplasty
    An increasingly popular technique for restoring the ability to smile. This technique requires intense physiotherapy afterwards to ‘learn’ to smile again. It may be suitable for elderly patients with long-standing facial paralysis who are looking for a simpler operation.

    Nerve Transfer or Graft
    This approach may be appropriate in patients who have had a recent onset of facial paralysis. It is often performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as tumour removal.

    Static Procedures
    These are a series of interventions that can improve the position of the affected side of the face as well as improve function (eye protection, oral control of solids and fluids).

    Brow Lift
    Facial nerve injuries may result in a droopy eyebrow appearance. A brow lift is a relatively simple procedure that can elevate the position of the brow to match the unaffected side.

    Fat Grafting
    Fat transfer is a relatively non-invasive procedure that can help restore contour to the face and improve function, e.g., by supporting flaccid structures such as the eyelid. Dr Sorensen is a pioneer and expert in fat grafting to the face.

    Eyelid Protection (Oculoplastic Surgery)
    Simple procedures that can often be done as an outpatient under local anaesthetic to facilitate eye closure and eyelid position. These include:

    • Implantation of a gold weight in the upper eyelid
    • Lower eyelid tightening (lateral tarsal strip) or sling
    • Eyelid bag removal (blepharoplasty)
    • Levator lengthening to help eyelid closure

    Static Sling to Cheek
    A simple procedure that can improve the position of the face at rest by using a piece of fibrous sheet to tighten and lift the cheek.

    Facelift
    A facelift can be used in conjunction with other techniques to improve facial symmetry at rest.
    A mid-face lift is particularly effective for younger patients with partial paralysis.

    Correction of Lower Lip Asymmetry
    Lower lip asymmetry is one of the most common issues in patients with facial nerve weakness. There are several techniques aimed at improving symmetry and function.

  • How much does facial palsy & paralysis reconstruction cost?

    Since the corrective treatments and procedures for facial palsy and paralysis can vary based on each patient’s unique needs, costs for this type of care are challenging to estimate without a comprehensive consultation. To find out how much a customised treatment plan would cost, a consultation must be scheduled with Dr Sorensen. Following your appointment, a cost estimate will be provided based on the details of your treatment plan. Under certain circumstances, Medicare and Private Health may cover your treatment partially. For more information, please contact us today.

Anything we've missed?

If you have any further questions or concerns that we haven’t addressed in our FAQ section, please don’t hesitate to contact us – our team is always here to provide the information and support you need throughout your journey.

Risks

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

Surgical procedures carry inherent risks, and the specific risks and potential complications may vary depending on the procedure. It is important to consult with a qualified and experienced surgeon to discuss the risks, benefits, and potential outcomes of any surgical procedure. Individual results may vary.

For more detailed and specific information regarding the risks associated with a particular procedure, please contact our clinic directly to schedule a consultation with our skilled team of healthcare professionals.

Surgical Costs

Navigating Surgical Costs: Consultations, Insurance, and Financial Options

At FNQ Plastic Surgery, we work with you to navigate the cost of your desired procedure, taking into account the various factors that influence pricing, and offering flexible payment options to accommodate your needs.

Medical Consultations for Non-Cosmetic Procedures (skin cancers, hand surgery etc.)

  • Initial consultation: $280
  • Follow-ups: $85

Cosmetic Consultations (in person or virtual)

  • Initial consultation: $350
  • Follow-ups: $100

Children Consultations under 18 years

  • Initial consultation: $250
  • Follow-ups: $85

Terms

All prices include GST. You will be required to make a deposit of $100 to secure your booking. Your appointment will be confirmed and secured once paid. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express via electronic banking details over the phone.

Skin cancer

Payment for skin cancer/ skin lesion surgery is due (7) days prior to your surgery booking date.

Cosmetic surgery

To secure an appointment for cosmetic surgery, you are required to make a deposit as outlined below. The final payment is due to FNQ Plastic Surgery 2 weeks prior to your scheduled date. Please reference your surname and contact us once payment is complete.

Surgeon feeDeposit required

Up to $10,000$1,000
$10,000 – $20,000$2,000
$20,000 +$3,000

Payment options

  • Direct Deposit
  • Bank cheque made payable to FNQ Plastic Surgery (we do not accept personal cheques)
  • Major credit cards accepted – including AMEX
  • Cash

Refund policy

If you cancel or reschedule your procedure less than (7) days prior to your surgery date, you will be responsible to pay thirty percent (30%) of the total costs of the procedure (non-refundable and cannot be applied to a future procedure).

Average prices paid for cosmetic and plastic surgery are different across Australia. Prices and Hospital Costs vary for plastic surgery as every patient has slightly different anatomy and varying surgical needs. Your Price for surgery depends mostly on which surgeon, which hospital, the type of prosthesis and how long the surgery will take. It will also vary based on eligibility for Medicare and whether you are insured or uninsured.

A fully personalised quote for your plastic surgery procedure is available when you come for a confidential consultation.

Your quote as part of a fully informed financial consent will outline your specific:

  • Surgeon Fee
  • Hospital Costs based on theatre time and length of hospital stay
  • Anaesthetists Fee
  • Assistants Fee (if applicable)
  • Prosthesis, Implant fee and post-operative garment fee (if applicable)
  • Any Medicare codes that may be applicable to your surgery

Many patients want to know if Medicare will cover plastic surgery. Medicare will cover what is deemed essential reconstructive surgery and procedures that have associated Medicare item numbers listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Dr Sorensen and his team can help you understand if Medicare may cover your procedure. However, if you wish to look up a particular type of surgery and its item numbers, refer to the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Medicare will not cover cosmetic surgery procedures – like a cosmetic breast augmentation.

If you meet the strict criteria, you may be eligible for a Medicare item number Breast Surgery, Tummy Surgery, and post weight loss Excess Skin removal, amongst many other procedures.

You can undertake your surgery as a self-funded (uninsured) patient, or you may be covered by your Private Health Fund. There are many private health funds, some more generous than others.

Your Private Health Fund may partly contribute to the cost of your surgery. If you have a valid medical referral and meet the specific criteria for a Medicare Item Number.

You must also have the right LEVEL of insurance cover – Gold, Silver or Bronze – for the type of surgery you want. You may have to delay surgery after initially joining a health fund – typically, a 12-month waiting period needs to be served before you can have surgery.
If you have private health insurance, it is your responsibility to check your level of cover for this procedure. If you are not covered for the procedure, you will be responsible for hospital fees. Below are listed questions you should ask your health fund:

  • Am I covered for the Cairns Private Hospital or Cairns Day Surgery?
  • Am I covered for the item number(s) listed on my quote?
  • Will I be covered if this surgery is combined with a cosmetic procedure that does not have an item number?
  • Do I have an excess to pay when I go to hospital? if so, how much is it?

Nearly all plastic surgeons now charge a GAP fee on top of what Medicare and Private Health Funds are willing to contribute for your surgery. Medicare rebates have been fixed and have not increased for years. This has resulted in few, if any, NO GAP Plastic surgeons willing to charge the standard Medicare fee and health fund rebate.

You may be able to get early access to your Superannuation Fund to pay for your life-changing surgery.

This will most likely apply to Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck), Breast Reduction, Body Contouring, Arm lift, Nose Surgery or Skin Reduction after significant weight loss or Bariatric Surgery.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will assess your Early Super Fund Access application for medical procedures that treat life-threatening illnesses or chronic pain. The final decision, however, will be made by your own Super Fund, as some funds will not allow withdrawal. Find out more by visiting the ATO website or contacting Supercare.

Financing for cosmetic & plastic surgery

Flexible Financing Solutions for Your Procedure

At FNQ Plastic Surgery, we’re dedicated to making your desired procedure more accessible. That’s why we’re proud to partner with leading Australian financial service Total Lifestyle Credit (TLC) to offer flexible financing solutions tailored to your needs.

TLC Logo

TLC provides personal loans designed for financing medical and lifestyle expenses. With competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and a simple application process, TLC can help you easily finance your procedure. Visit TLC’s website for more information.

DISCLAIMER – Our Practice is NOT a credit provider. We do NOT receive any rebates or commissions from ANY banks or credit suppliers. All finance and credit providers are independent external companies. We provide NO financial advice. You will need to consider your own financial circumstances when deciding if finance is suitable for you.

At the heart of our practice is a deep commitment to patient care, ensuring each individual receives the utmost attention, safety, and satisfaction.

We strive to provide the best care possible for our patients. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of resources on our Patient Care page, including information on patient registration, consultation and treatment, disclaimer information, and other vital resources. Please click the button below to access our Patient Care page and learn how we can assist you throughout your journey.

Enquire now

Please upload relevant photos of what you are trying to achieve or your current situation. This may help you get an earlier consult appointment or surgery.

Please only include pictures of your face if relevant to your enquiry.