Birth Injury:

Facial Paralysis

Congenital facial paralysis is a rare, but serious birth injury. Occurring in up to 2% of newborns, facial paralysis can lead to several other problems for the child, including trouble with eye closure. It also depresses a muscle in the lower bottom lip, making it difficult for the infant to feed.

Side Effects of Congenital Facial Paralysis

Other side effects of facial paralysis in newborns include:

  • Mobius syndrome, which affects cranial and extraocular nerves
  • Speech loss
  • Irregular growth of bones at facial canal
  • Abnormalities in the inner ear and vocal cords
  • Weaknesss in the face, jaw, neck and eyelids

CHARGE Syndrome

The most serious disorder related to congenital facial paralysis is CHARGE syndrome, which stands for:

  • Colobomata: An eye abnormality that affects the child’s eye sight and may lead to vision loss.
  • Heart Disease: An infant with facial paralysis may develop a blockage in the arteries or trouble pumping blood.
  • Atresia of choanae: This blockage of the nasal passage can cause breathing difficulties for infants.
  • Genital Hypoplasia: A disorder involving the genitals.
  • Ear abnormalities

Facial Paralysis at Birth: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Facial paralysis in newborns is a birth injury caused by a compression or damage to the facial nerve either while in the mother's womb or through a traumatic delivery. In many cases, misuse of forceps during delivery can lead to congenital facial paralysis. If your child was born with facial paralysis, there is a strong possibility that medical negligence may be to blame.

A common way to diagnose congenital facial paralysis is by watching the newborn as it cries. Damage to the facial nerve, also called the 7th cranial nerve, will show on the baby's face. The newborn child will not be able to move the side or portion of the face, including eyes and mouth, that has been inflicted by facial paralysis.

Facial paralysis can be cured with medical treatment. During an observation period, the infant will be given steroids for approximately 5 weeks. In 90% of congenital facial paralysis cases, the infant will be cured. If the child does not respond to treatment within 5 weeks, surgery will be considered. However, most doctors are hesitant to perform surgery on an infant because their skin cannot withstand the pain of surgery. The recovery time for surgery is also uncertain, and there is no guarantee that the procedure will prevent future paralysis problems. Therefore, most doctors are advised to perform surgery after waiting one year.

Birth Injury Lawsuits

If your child was born with facial paralysis, you may have a birth injury lawsuit. Facial paralysis can lead to weeks of treatment, costly medical bills, and even surgery. A birth injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for these medical costs and other monetary damages. Fill out our free case evaluation form today to speak with a birth injury attorney.