Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Botox an Effective Treatment for Facial Nerve Problems, Loyola Physician Says

MAYWOOD, Ill.  –  Botox is best known as a cosmetic treatment for frown lines, but the drug also effectively treats the aftereffects of Bell’s palsy and other serious facial nerve problems.

Bell’s palsy results from damage to the facial nerve that controls muscles on one side of the face. Dr. Matthew Kircher, an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center, is giving patients Botox injections to treat facial nerve disorders that sometimes occur after Bell’s palsy, including unwanted facial movements known as synkinesis.

Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by temporarily blocking the nerve input into the muscles.

Facial synkinesis is the involuntary movement of one set of muscles when the patient tries to move another set of muscles. For example, when the patient blinks, the mouth smiles or grimaces.

Botox can improve the symmetry of the face and reduce muscle contractures and spasms. Botox also is effective for platysmal banding – vertical lines that develop in the neck as a result of muscle contractions.

Kircher said he starts out conservatively by treating patients with diluted doses. After seeing how well the patient does, Kircher will adjust the dose if necessary.
Botox is not a cure. The drug wears off after three or four months, so patients need repeat injections.

“While we can never make the face perfect, we have found Botox to be extremely effective,” Kircher said. “It can make a huge difference in patients’ lives."

Kircher is an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.