Some of the most important work our facial plastic surgeons perform is in the area of facial reconstruction and paralysis.

Patients who have suffered from an illness, injury or accident deserve special care and healing. It’s likely that you’ve already endured significant physical or emotional challenges related to your health, so our goal is to repair any resulting damage to your face or neck so you can recover more fully. You will always be treated with respect and empathy. 

Your case may require meticulous technique and careful planning, but we believe you will feel more confident knowing you’re in the care of a board certified expert who routinely performs these very intricate surgeries. Your Ohio State facial surgeon has not only completed additional specialized training, but is also committed to the continuing education and research required to stay current on the latest techniques. Let’s work together to get you back to life.

Facial paralysis conditions we treat

  • Bell's palsy - Although its cause is unknown and the resulting facial paralysis typically resolves, patients with Bell’s palsy can be helped with corticosteroids, anti-viral medications, eyedrops and careful surveillance to prevent long-term damage. Those who do not recover full facial mobility may consider surgical repair options.
  • Facial paresis or nerve damage - Can be caused by injury, illness or from a medical procedure that impacts the nerves.
  • Lower lid ectropion - Ectropion is when the eyelid turns outward, leaving the inner eyelid surface exposed and prone to irritation. More common in older adults, it can be exacerbated by facial paralysis. 
  • Mobius syndrome - Present from birth, the primary symptom of this neurological disorder is facial paralysis, leaving the individual typically unable to smile or frown or move eyes from side to side.
  • Paralytic lagophthalmos - This refers to the incomplete closure of eyelids resulting from facial paralysis.
  • Parotid tumor - When a mass grows in the salivary gland in the neck, nerve damage can result from the tumor itself or from the surgery to remove it.
  • Synkinesis - This is when nerves are “miswired” due to facial nerve injury, causing involuntary muscular movements when voluntary movements are made. For example, an eye may close when someone smiles.

Treatment options for facial paralysis

We can repair tissues or facial movements damaged by injury, trauma or medical condition and treatment. We use very intricate surgeries and some nonsurgical options. This includes repairing nerves or muscles through delicate reconnection or grafting (taking nerves and muscles from other parts of the body to reinnervate or replace damaged facial muscles). The appropriate technique used depends on the location and severity of paralysis or injury.

Depending on the severity and location of damage, the appropriate techniques used or the terms you might hear when discussing reanimation or repair options could include: 

  • Facial or smile reanimation
  • Facial nerve repair
  • Cable grafting
  • Nerve harvest and transfer
  • Masseteric nerve transfer
  • Hypoglossal nerve transfer
  • Cross-facial nerve graft
  • Gracilis free flap
  • Parotidectomy 
  • Facial nerve dissection
  • Upper eyelid weight
  • Platinum chain weight
  • Gold weight
  • Ectropion repair
  • Temporalis tendon transfer
  • Fascia lata harvest 
  • Facial suspension
  • Therapeutic chemodenervation
  • Botulinum toxin
  • Synkinesis treatment
  • Selective neurectomy
  • Platysmectomy

Regardless of the individual terms or the perceived complexity of these treatments, our facial plastic surgeons are among the few physicians in the country qualified to perform these facial paralysis procedures.

Our Team


Leslie Kim, MD

  • Director, Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Bradley Nesemeier, MD

  • Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery