Trends in Facial Paralysis Management: A National Survey Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of craniofacial surgery








INTRODUCTION: Advances in operative management, minimally invasive procedures, and physical therapy have allowed for dramatic improvements in functional and cosmetic outcomes in patients with facial paralysis. Our goal was to evaluate the current trends and practice patterns in the diagnosis and management of facial paralysis by provider demographics. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An electronic questionnaire was distributed to members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). Practice patterns in the diagnosis and treatment were compared by level of training (fellowship-trained facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon versus non-fellowship trained), practice type (academic and private), practice length, patient volume, and presence of a dedicated facial nerve clinic. The bivariate associations of the outcome variables and the stratification factors were analyzed using 2-way contingency tables and Fisher's exact tests. RESULTS: The survey was sent to 1129 members of the AAFPRS. The response rate was 11.7% (n=132). Most respondents were fellowship-trained surgeons (79%) in the academic setting (55%), and most have been in practice for more than 10 years (53%). Practice setting and patient volume were the factors most associated with significant variations in management, including the use of facial paralysis grading scales, photography/videography, patient-reported outcome metrics, as well as differences in both noninvasive and surgical management. CONCLUSION: Based on the present study, several physician demographic factors may play a role in choosing which diagnostic and treatment options are employed for facial paralysis, with practice setting and patient volume appearing to be the 2 variables associated with the most significant differences.