What Are Facial Nerve Disorders?

The facial nerve is a nerve that controls the muscles on the side of your face, allowing you to show expression, smile, cry and wink. When you injure the facial nerve, you may experience facial muscle paralysis, weakness or twitching of your face. Symptoms of a facial nerve problem can vary in severity depending upon the extent of your injury.


If you have facial tics, twitching, numbness, weakness, pain or paralysis, contact your physician for a thorough exam. All of these symptoms can be caused by benign disorders or they can be signs of something more serious. Your physician may use the following tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and to develop an appropriate treatment plan:


If you are coping with the pain and discomfort of a facial nerve disorder, you will find comfort in knowing that the board-certified surgeons at Northwestern Medicine can graft, reconstruct or repair facial nerves to treat a number of facial nerve disorders, including Bell palsy, paralysis, spasm or neuralgia.

Treatment for facial nerve disorders varies greatly from patient to patient and from one condition to another. Northwestern Medicine has a wide range of treatment technology, including surgical and nonsurgical solutions, to help you find relief, including:

Northwestern Medicine Functional Neurosurgery Program
The Functional Neurosurgery Program specialists at Northwestern Memorial Hospital work in integrated teams to provide patients with a multidisciplinary approach to their care, including:

  • Assessment by a fellowship-trained neurologist in movement disorders and epilepsy
  • Comprehensive pharmacological therapy
  • Neurosurgical evaluations for deep brain stimulation (DBS), epilepsy surgery, pain surgery, intrathecal medication infusion and other therapeutic procedures
  • The opportunity to participate in clinical research trials
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy through Northwestern Memorial Hospital in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Social work services: consultation, counseling, support groups, and access to community services and resources
  • Educational programs
  • Learning materials: books, videos, audiotapes, and internet resources
  • Neuropsychology services

Northwestern Medicine Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic
The Northwestern Medicine Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital was established in 2009 with support from the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. We employ a multidisciplinary approach in which specially trained personnel provide diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitative and supportive services. Clinics are held on a weekly basis.