Cosmetic Lip Injections Could Help Those With Facial Paralysis
There are a number of circumstances which can cause facial paralysis. It can be a result of stroke, muscular dystrophy, Bell’s palsy, trauma or birth defects. Various techniques are used to tackle the condition, and now a new method may soon be added to the list. Doctors at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore say that people with facial paralysis may benefit from non-invasive cosmetic lip surgery.
Facial paralysis often leaves sufferers with poor lip control and can cause drooling, spillage of food and drink, and speech problems. It also makes many sufferers feel self-conscious about their appearance. These are the issues that Dr Kofi Boahene – a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon – and his colleagues set out to address.
The team worked on 22 people who had facial paralysis on one side of the mouth, and three people with muscular dystrophy who had lost control of both sides of the mouth. The patients were given hyaluronic acid injections, which are usually used in cosmetic procedures to make lips appear fuller or to reduce facial wrinkles and lines.
In this case, the injections caused notable improvements in all 25 patients, restoring a significant amount of lip function. All participants demonstrated improved speech and a greater ability to eat and drink without spillage. The three patients with muscular dystrophy had a six-to-seven-fold increase in lip strength.
Speech therapists, who monitored patients’ speech both before and after procedures, particularly noted the advancements patients made in their ability to articulate plosive sounds – such as the letters ‘p’ and ‘b’ – which facial paralysis sufferers typically struggle with.
The study authors wrote: “The ultimate utility of therapeutic lip filler injection in facial paralysis is the improvement in quality-of-life measures, such as improved articulation, better discrimination of conversational speech, and correction of anterior bolus spillage, with associated improved confidence in public and social settings.”
There are now plans for a further study to take place, to examine the effects of hyaluronic acid injections in a larger number of facial paralysis patients.