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What is Facial Nerve Decompression?

A nerve decompression surgery by which an abnormal compression of the facial nerve is relieved is known as facial nerve decompression.

The compression and pressure on a peripheral nerve due to any reason can cause blockage of the nerve impulse. Thus, the nerve can no longer send electrochemical impulses and hence fails to send signals to the brain or receive the signals from the brain to the muscles.

There may be a loss of the nerve’s myelin sheath and degeneration of the nerve in the affected area, but it does not affect axons beyond the affected site.

The facial nerve is a mixed nerve with sensory and motor nerve fibres, and hence the compression can create sensory and motor deficits.

Types of Facial Nerve Compression

Facial nerve compression is mainly of three types:

  • Neuropraxia: rapid and complete recovery of function with no Wallerian degeneration.
  • Axonotmesis: Necrosis of the distal segment and Wallerian degeneration.
  • Neurotmesis: It involves endoneurium with Wallerian degeneration.

The type of injury also gives an idea about the prognosis.

What are the causes of Facial Nerve Compression?

Facial nerve compression can be due to several specific reasons including:

  • Bell’s palsy: Complete paralysis or partial weakness of the muscle of facial expression.
  • Herpes Zoster Oticus: Viral infection is the cause of this and is often associated with the herpetic eruption of the meatus and cavum conchae.
  • Melkersson-Rosenthal Syndrome: It commonly occurs before 18 years and is often associated with recurring facial palsy and face oedema.
  • Skull Fracture: Fracture of the temporal bone and petrous bone can cause facial nerve compression
  • Birth Injury: During the delivery of the child, facial nerve trauma can cause birth injury.
  • Suppurative Otitis Media: Inflammation and oedema caused by this condition affect the facial canal – which in turn, causes the compression of the facial nerve.
  • Parotid Swelling: Tumors that are formed in the parotid gland can cause compression of motor parts
  • Tumours: Facial nerve tumours like perineuromas and schwannomas can compress the facial nerve.

The aim of the facial nerve decompression surgery is to open the affected nerve sheath and the affected area of the nerve to release pressure. This improves blood circulation, compression on the nerve fibers, and minimize the damage to the distal nerve fibers.

Dr Neetu Modgil is immensely experienced in performing facial nerve decompression surgery as she provides you with the most advanced facial nerve decompression surgery.


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