Facial paralysis is a cosmetic concern that can have a psychological impact as well, if the patient develops low self-esteem and low confidence. Stroke, Bell’s palsy, muscular dystrophy, trauma and birth defects can all lead to this condition. Patients may struggle with drooling, find it difficult to eat or drink without spillage, or make sounds that need the lips to be completely closed. A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Stanford universities revealed that an effective cosmetic lip surgery using hyaluronic acid injections can serve both aesthetic and functional purposes.
A lead surgeon involved in the study said that the hyaluronic acid injections made on the lips tone the tissue surrounding the muscle. A report about the study was published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.
22 patients were involved in the study, 14 women and eight men. These people had facial paralysis on one side of the mouth. Three patients with muscular dystrophy who had lost control of both sides of the mouth were also part of the study. Baseline measures of lip tone were performed using an instrument that measured pressure. The participants placed their lips around this device and readings were taken from the left, middle, and right sides of the mouth. The weakest points were identified by letting the participants blow air with pursed lips. The researchers injected the hyaluronic acid at points where the air escaped.
Here are the significant findings of the analysis.
- The greatest improvement was noted for the three patients with muscular dystrophy. Their lip strength increased six to sevenfold from the original reading.
- For others, lip strength increased at an average of 1.4-fold on the paralyzed side and 0.4-fold on the unaffected side.
A speech therapist was involved in the process to determine how these improvements reflected on their daily life needs. A before-and-after assessment of their ability to speak, eat and drink without spilling was made. All of the patients showed a marked improvement which made it clear that this cosmetic surgery could improve the lives of people.