Physical therapy for facial nerve palsy: applications for the physician.

PubMed ID: 29994853

Author(s): van Landingham SW, Diels J, Lucarelli MJ. Physical therapy for facial nerve palsy: applications for the physician. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2018 Sep;29(5):469-475. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000503. Review. PMID 29994853

Journal: Current Opinion In Ophthalmology, Volume 29, Issue 5, Sep 2018

PURPOSE OF REVIEW The aim of this study was to describe the current state of physical therapy for facial nerve palsy, the evidence basis for these interventions and how therapy can be integrated with other medical and surgical interventions for facial nerve palsy, as it applies to ophthalmologists, oculoplastic surgeons and other specialists.

RECENT FINDINGS Many studies indicate that physical therapy is effective for the rehabilitation of patients with facial nerve palsy and can be used synergistically with interventions administered by physicians, such as targeted botulinum toxin injections. The field is limited by a relative paucity of high-quality randomized controlled trials. Alternative therapies including Brief Electrical Stimulation continue to be studied; however, they lack a scientific rationale and, anecdotally, appear to cause more problems in cases of incomplete facial nerve recovery.

SUMMARY Physical therapy, specifically neuromuscular retraining, is a useful intervention for treating facial nerve palsy. Care for these patients is best delivered in a multidisciplinary setting in which physical therapy and medical or surgical interventions can be closely integrated. Further study aimed at standardizing physical therapy and optimizing the integration of this with other treatments for facial nerve palsy are needed.