Effect of cross facial nerve animation - Facial Palsy UK

Facial Palsy UK

1,064 members327 posts

Effect of cross facial nerve animation


Hi, I'm a teenager who's just had the second procedure for facial palsy reanimation, where a muscle from my thigh was inserted into the left side of my face. I had my surgery a week ago and my face looks really swollen up. Like really badly. Worse than before, I actually regret undergoing the surgery. I'm really really worried about this... can anyone please advise me of the process they underwent and how long this took. My docs keep telling me it's okay , I've spent a while crying too but I just want some reassurance from someone who's been through this/is aware of this. I have a secured place at university which I will begin towards September and I'm feeling really anxious. would really appreciate a response from anyone.

34 Replies

I haven't had this surgery but... L

I would imagine it's still early days and the swelling will go down, my Bell's palsy as left me with my eye closing, watering and nose running every time l eat or drink... wish something could be done about that, l have learned, it's been a year now, that it's your personality that matters and shines through, that people remember

jtasker in reply to Audreysews

Hi.....my name is Jacki.....I also bells palsy.....it was a year Dec. 3. Its affected my right side of my face. Its made it really di\fficult to eat, drink, kiss, whistle, and my mouth droops on the right side. For me the worst is the damage its done to my right eye & vision. Its hard to keep my right eye open when I drink, smile or talk....the nerve behind my rg ear across middle of my face hurts, aches/ & burns ninj-stop. I dont know what to do if there is anything that would help. Its been very changelling. confidence was never to much of a problem for me.....but it is now. It has affected my speech also. If you can relate to my story Id really appreciate anything someone could share.

Thank you....



Hello, this page may help give you some information about what to expect regarding recovery:


Also, there is a group that is not part of the charity on Facebook (although I am one of the admin team on there) which is just for people who had facial palsy in childhood. There are many people in that group who will have been through similar surgeries. It may be worth joining to have a chat on there:


Note that someone will message anyone who requests to join the group to check their reason for wanting to join, this is to ensure it's kept a safe place. Keep an eye on your messages and respond as necessary if you request to join.

It is early days after your surgery and I hope you start to see the swelling go down soon.

Hi, I had this surgery last year too. I was also shocked over the amount of swelling there was in the first couple of months. It does go down though so try not to worry too much. I was 22 at the time and just started work having just graduated so I know how you feel. Its definitely worth having it done and you wouldn't want to wait another 3 years before undergoing it. I know the timing is not ideal for you but you will be fine. Try and keep positive.

Wounded101 in reply to John28

Hi thank you so much for the response! Feeling quite positive reading this. I have a few questions if you don't mind please. So how long did it take for the swelling to go down (approximately how many months please?) Also did you usually get a pressurised feeling, it's kind of hard to describe...? And lastly are you pleased with result (has it actually helped as in better than before the surgery?)

Apologies for the array of questions but I'm feeling really anxious 😕

John28 in reply to Wounded101

Ermmm I think the majority went down within a couple months but I still had some residual swelling for a few months after that. Yeah I think I got that feeling If i can remember, It still feels slightly different now but I think you get use to it. Yeah my smile is 100% more symmetrical. I need to have a small follow up surgery in a couple of weeks as I've got some scar tethering, so once that's finished I'll get the complete finished result (finally). Hope this helps..

Wounded101 in reply to John28

Thank you ever so much :)

Hedgie1 in reply to John28

Hi John I’m due to have 2nd stage op shortly, how long we’re u off work after 2nd op?

I have had the same surgery back in 2006, when I was 6 years old. It's a long, long process, because I believe my last surgery for my face was in 2014. The first couple procedures have very little to do with the cosmetic part of the surgery, honestly they are there more for motor functions. The first is the nerve transplant, followed by a muscle graph. (I believe, not entirely sure, I was 6 you know...) These surgeries took about two years to recover from, and the swelling takes months to go down. The next procedure they might do for you would be a gold-weight? This procedure is to help close your eyelid. I denied this surgery, because my plastic surgeon said it could weigh my eye down since I'm still developing.

However, after a couple years when you are fully recovered from the surgery, they will offer to do a surgery similar to a liposuction (just without the hose). The goal of this surgery is to remove fat surround the muscle, and hopefully reduce the "fullness" of the affected side of the face. After this procedure, they let this sit for a few months for the swelling to go down. If the side is still to "full" to your liking, they may offer to fill in the good side of your face to even it out.

I was offered this surgery as well, but I denied it, because I felt like my face was full enough, and I really did not want to touch the good side of my face.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how long these processes take. Of course your condition may not need all this treatment I listed, but it may be good to bring up these procedures the next time you talk to your doctor.

Wounded101 in reply to bunny980

Thanks, that was really helpful. ☺

scarve in reply to bunny980

How intense was the reducing fullness surgery? How many hours and how many weeks swollen afterwards? Are you happy with result?


I recently had the second stage muscle graft 4 weeks ago. Face still swollen and looks and feels very "full" but am told it will go back to how it was within 2 months

Wounded101 how is your recovery going?

Wounded101 in reply to N1man69

hi, my recovery is going well thanks, its been exactly five months for me and my physiotherapist has given me some exercises to start on - the swelling has gone down a lot compared to the beginning (although it is still apparent unfortunately). Haven't seen any difference in facial movement either so waiting on that.

All the best with your recovery.

Hedgie1 in reply to N1man69

Hi there Trying to guage how long I’ll be off work, how long were u out of action after2nd op? Tia !

thanks for the reply. How apparent is the swelling - does yr face look very different to how it was before the op?

yes my face was even before the surgery and currently its more swollen on the affected side.

Hedgie1 in reply to Wounded101

Hi I’m due to have second op soon “before Christmas” apparently) how did you go Wounded, has swelling gone down/ smile gone up???

oh. will it go back to even did they say?

Hi I'm new on here and I've had BP for over 5 yrs from when I was pregnant with my first daughter.I'm looking into the same procedure(cross facial nerve graft) but I'm not sure where to be reffered and which doctor to see. Any help would be much appreciated thanks.

Hedgie1 in reply to Geme3

I think your GP could refer you to plastics out patients

Hi I’m due to have second op soon “before Christmas” apparently) how did you go Wounded, has swelling gone down/ smile gone up???

Wounded101 in reply to Hedgie1

My apologies, I hadn't see this... I assume you've had your surgery now, how are you getting along?

For me, the swelling has gone down mostly and the smile is forming better than before, although not symmetrical as such - I may be having a final surgery to remove the bulkiness and tighten the muscle..

vonson in reply to Wounded101

great news that your swelling has gone down and smile forming. guess i just have to be patient.

scarve in reply to Wounded101


Did you go for the second op? I have recovered and smile is almost symmetrical but I do have quite a bit of bulkiness and need to tighten the muscle. Would love to hear from you or anyone else who has had this second surgery.

Thank you

Wounded101 in reply to scarve

Hello, I did speak to my consultant about an op to remove the business but he advised it could possibly limit the transplanted muscle function. So I left it and the bulk has definitely gone down a lot, mostly noticeable when smiling.

scarve in reply to Wounded101

Oh that’s great to hear! Thank you for sharing. How long did it take for the bulk to go down? I don’t have bulk at rest, just when smiling. Thank you

Wounded101 in reply to scarve

I have the same thing, bulk when smilng not at rest... it's not gone fully yet I've just become accustomed to it I think. It's now been 4 years so I don't really expect it to change anymore 😔

I am not a physician but we use a homeopathic remedies and one called arnica can help tremendously with the swelling...look up homeopathy online and you can buy remedies locally or online. It is amazing medicine and is all natural. I wish you the best as this must be frustrating. There are a ton of remedies....one called Calms Forte can help with the stress....Happy healing .....

Wounded101 in reply to flynn59

Thank you! I have my engagement coming up and I'm really trying to reduce the swelling as much as possible.


How has it all settled in? I just had this operation done 9 days ago. The face swelling is big, but I feel it healing. I'm more worried about the leg swelling. How long did it take you to be able to walk around well and do exercise? How long were you on pain killers for?

Thank you,


Wounded101 in reply to scarve

Hello Sophie, it's now been 3 years since my op so I dont recall much but but I think itll be a months or so as I remember talking to my physiotherapist and asking her if I'm safe to go to the gym! So maybe 2 months I would say until it's almost normal... and now my leg although its fully healed it feels a bit odd because the sensation is lost but I cant really tell on a day to day basis unless I remind myself!

All the best


scarve in reply to Wounded101

Thank you so much, Em, for your prompt reply. Yes, I know that feeling - I had the nerve graft done 5 years ago and I still feel that, however, it does not hinder my life. Thanks again.

All the best!


scarve in reply to scarve

I just wanted to update for anyone else’s interest - I could walk properly about 3-4 weeks after operation and very lightly. My swelling took 6 weeks to go down. I had a bit of neuropraxia - bruising to nerve above eyebrow - it healed. Numbness is ongoing but more minor now. Tightness in cheek/muscle. Intense operation, not fully sure I’d choose again if I could go back, but maybe too early to say?

Wounded101 in reply to scarve

I felt like this too at first, but when I compare before and after photos now the smile is better than before and at rest/whilst talking face does look more symmetrical.

You may also like...