The Effects of Facial Palsy

Are there different degrees of injury?

Yes. Facial nerve injuries can be classified into three groups:

  • First degree injury – the nerve is “concussed or bruised” and recovers within 8 weeks.
  • Second degree injury – the nerve is more severely damaged but the nerve’s outer layer is still intact. It recovers at the rate of up to 1mm per day, with first signs of recovery usually at 4 months.
  • Third degree injury – the nerve is severely damaged and requires surgical repair. Recovery from this is very slow and always incomplete. If the nerve is severed and not repaired in any way there will be no natural recovery and surgery will be required to help restore facial function.

The quality and duration of recovery is dependent on the severity of the initial injury. If the nerve has suffered nothing more than a mild trauma, recovery can be very fast, taking several days to several weeks. An “average” recovery is likely to take between a few weeks and a few months. The nerve regenerates at a rate of approximately 1-2 millimeters per day, and can continue to regenerate for 18 months, probably even longer. Improvement of appearance can continue beyond that time frame.