This is a post in regards to questions answered by my facial cosmetic surgeon, Doctor Babak Azizzadeh. I think it’s crucial to shares his answers with you all because your choice of a doctor is a choice you’ll live with for years, if not your entire life. If you’re thinking about having a cosmetic procedure or trying to find the right doctor, it’s important to do prior extensive research on the doctor you choose.
When I was first diagnosed with complete facial paralysis on my left side in 2013, my family and I had absolutely no idea who to turn to in the medical world. I had zero knowledge as to what facial paralysis even was let alone all of the scientific terminologies that went along with understanding this unfamiliar concept. Thankfully, I attend school in Los Angeles, aka the land of plastic surgery which helped guide me in the right direction. Through the proper resources of previous doctors and my facial therapist, I was connected with this amazing person.
It has been a crazy emotional journey the last couple years along with two reconstructive surgeries. I can honestly say that I have never felt so grateful to have Doctor Azizzadeh as my facial doctor. Not only did he give me hope that I’d feel beautiful again, but he was also honest, humble and most importantly, an expert in his field. In the darkest times of my life, where I had no hope of having “a normal face” again, Doctor Azizzadeh provided me with comfort and hope. He helped me see the light at the end of a dark tunnel, which I will be forever internally grateful. If every facial paralysis patient had a plastic surgeon in their lives like Doctor Azizzadeh, I can honestly say that the world would be a different place; a place filled with more security, inner confidence, and happiness.
Due to the remarkable changes that I’ve seen from my previous cosmetic procedures performed by Doctor Azizzadeh, I wanted to ask him a few questions that may be beneficial for any readers struggling with facial paralysis with questions and have thought of having any cosmetic procedure done: ↓
This is an honest question that I think many women have a hard time understanding, (even myself years later) … Is it possible to achieve your original face back before having facial paralysis?
“You are not alone in your curiosity about this question. I tell my patients that having realistic expectations is one of the most important things when considering treatment for their facial paralysis. It’s important to understand that no matter how much we do, their face may never look the same as it did before their paralysis. My goal is always to help patients regain as much function and symmetry as possible, and together we are almost always able to help drastically improve their circumstances.”
Is Botox a technique that you commonly use on patients? What is your advice on Botox? Has this been beneficial for your patients with facial paralysis?
“Botox is a fantastic treatment for patients who are experiencing synkinesis, which is a common side effect of facial paralysis. Imagine a keyboard; we have been able to memorize where all the keys are located, so when we type a word, each key corresponds to the letter that appears on our screen. For patients who have synkinesis, it’s as if they are trying to type, but all of the letters have been completely jumbled around. This translates to a miscoordination of their facial muscles which causes an uncomfortable tightness which many patients suffer from. When strategically used in just the right places, Botox can help relax some of those muscles which offer a lot of relief.”
How long does Botox typically last? And is this something that you have done on most of your patients with facial paralysis?
“Everyone metabolizes Botox at a slightly different rate, but most of my patients notice that it lasts for about three months. Every patient is different, so during each initial consultation, I determine if Botox injections are something that will be beneficial.”
What is the best piece of advice you can give someone considering plastic surgery?
“I think the most important thing to keep in mind when considering treating facial paralysis is having realistic expectations about the result. This includes the final outcome, the timing of the surgery, and the emotions that are involved. As stated above, it’s important to be realistic about the outcome and understand that my goal is always to restore as much symmetry and facial function as possible. Timing is important because surgery requires taking the time to recover fully. For students, I always recommend scheduling surgery over a break from school so that there is plenty of time to rest and recuperate. Patients also have to be emotionally ready to pursue treatment of their facial paralysis. Going into surgery with a positive attitude contributes to a healthy recovery and an amazing final result.”
Do you think that with time there will be more options available?
“Absolutely! The amazing thing about medicine is that it’s always evolving. As we discover more about facial paralysis, we lay the foundation for the treatment options for the future.”
For all of the women out there who are reading this post and are thinking of having surgery or seeking nonsurgical options like botox, I hope you find a cosmetic surgeon like Doctor Azizzadeh. Everyone deserves to find someone who makes you feel confident, comfortable and beautiful in your skin. Xo
P.S. If you would like to get in touch or learn more about Doctor Babak Azizzadeh’s practice, please visit https://www.facialplasticsbh.com.