Some patients who have had Bell’s palsy or other reversible forms of facial nerve injury may go on to develop synkinesis. This is a condition that causes unwanted contractions of the muscles of the face during attempted movement.
Most commonly, patients will notice forceful eye closure when they attempt to smile, or other muscle spasms during routine facial movements. It is essentially a “faulty rewiring” of the facial nerve that occurs after injury and recovery. It can be very distressing to patients and may significantly impact emotional expression and facial function. It may even cause facial discomfort or pain.
What are the signs and symptoms of synkinesis?
- Facial spasms during attempted facial movement
- Facial discomfort or pain
- Forceful eye closure when attempting to smile