Rehabilitation Services

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Facial Nerve Rehabilitation

Our faces are the windows to our emotions. It’s estimated that facial expressions may account for 60% of all communication. So if a facial nerve is injured, as in the case of Bell's palsy, trauma, or tumor, it can have devastating effects on communication, on one's appearance, and self-image. The facial rehabilitation program at NewYork-Presbyterian helps people re-learn to use their facial muscles after injury to their facial nerve.

We use a variety of tools to evaluate and assess each patient, to create individualized programs for each patient. A combination of therapeutic techniques is used to address each person’s movement patterns and retrain their brain to create more normal patterns of expression.

Some of the conditions we treat include:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Congenital facial paralysis
  • Lyme disease
  • Ramsay Hunt syndrome
  • Trauma, such as skull fractures, facial lacerations, or surgeries resulting in facial nerve damage

An Experienced Team

The facial rehabilitation team at NewYork-Presbyterian is a multidisciplinary group of physiatrists (rehabilitation medicine doctors), otolaryngologists, neurosurgeons, facial plastic surgeons, occupational therapists, and psychologists dedicated to improving the facial function of our patients. Our team of trained professionals are extremely knowledgeable in all of the muscles of the face, the uniqueness of the facial nerve, and the challenges that having a facial nerve paralysis can cause.

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services

Our one-on-one, hour-long private treatment sessions allow patients to regain function of the nerves and muscles. During our sessions, we address our patients’ appearance, their physical function, and comfort, by helping with:

  • eye closure
  • facial symmetry at rest and with expression
  • reducing synkinesis (unusual patterns of movement in the face)
  • reducing facial tightness
  • eye irritation
  • increasing facial muscle control for various patterns of movement and expression
  • increasing ease with eating, drinking and speaking

Our goal for our patients is to increase their patients' comfort and confidence in various social situations. We address how we use our face as a form of expression and communication to help you better participate in activities with your friends and family.


Occupational Therapy at the Vanderbilt Clinic

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center