Developmental facial paralysis: a review

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2011 Oct;64(10):1318-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2011.04.015. Epub 2011 Jul 2.


The purpose of this study is to clarify the confusing nomenclature and pathogenesis of Developmental Facial Paralysis, and how it can be differentiated from other causes of facial paralysis present at birth. Differentiating developmental from traumatic facial paralysis noted at birth is important for determining prognosis, but also for medicolegal reasons. Given the dramatic presentation of this condition, accurate and reliable guidelines are necessary in order to facilitate early diagnosis and initiate appropriate therapy, while providing support and counselling to the family. The 30 years experience of our center in the management of developmental facial paralysis is dependent upon a thorough understanding of facial nerve embryology, anatomy, nerve physiology, and an appreciation of well-recognized mishaps during fetal development. It is hoped that a better understanding of this condition will in the future lead to early targeted screening, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment in this population of facially disfigured patients, which will facilitate their emotional and social rehabilitation, and their reintegration among their peers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / congenital*
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / embryology
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / surgery
  • Facial Paralysis / congenital*
  • Facial Paralysis / diagnosis*
  • Facial Paralysis / etiology
  • Facial Paralysis / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mobius Syndrome