REHABILITATION FOLLOWING FACIAL NERVE PARALYSIS
Dr Susan Coulson, winner of the 2005 Tempe Mann Award, who gave the 2006 Sophia Holland Lecture, has provided us with
a brief summary of her presentation: The challenge of improving appearance and function following facial nerve paralysis
using physiotherapy techniques. Ten thousand people develop facial nerve disorders each year in Australia, and 1500 of these have residual problems.
These can lead to difficulties with expression of emotion, speaking and eating, static facial appearance and smiling in
spontaneous social situations.
There are some new rehabilitation approaches for patients with facial nerve disorders within Australia that are based
on current international research findings from both Europe and the USA. Treatments include specific facial exercises,
mirror retraining and mime therapy, and more recently video self-modelling and implementation intentions. Assessment and
documentation of pre and post treatment outcomes is done using validated facial grading systems. Facial assessment,
treatment techniques and current research findings were presented at the Lecture.
She leaves this month to study and collaborate on this complex treatment at Raboud Universityn Nijmegen Medical
Centre in the Netherlands and attend the International Facial Nerve Symposium in Maastricht.
Susan is shown here with Teresa Valenti of the City Branch.