Facial Nerve Disorders Program

People with facial nerve disorders or facial weakness often don’t know they have options for addressing the functional and aesthetic effects of their condition. At Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, our Facial Nerve Disorders Program offers you a wide range of treatment options for conditions ranging from smile weakness to complete facial nerve paralysis.

Facial Nerve Disorders: Why Choose Vanderbilt

  • Recognized care: U.S. News & World Report ranks Vanderbilt Otolaryngology among the top 20 programs in the nation for ear, nose and throat care. We are the No. 1 adult hospital in Tennessee and metropolitan Nashville.
  • Center of Excellence: Vanderbilt is a Center of Excellence for the diagnosis, treatment and management of facial nerve disorders.
  • Experienced surgeons: Our surgeons have extensive training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, which includes specialized expertise in treating facial nerve disorders. Our surgeons have experience performing a variety of surgeries, ranging from procedures to improve the function of your eyelids to more complex surgeries involving the removal or transfer of nerves within the face.
  • Advanced techniques: Vanderbilt is one of only a few medical centers in the country with surgeons capable of performing a delicate surgery called gracilis multivector surgery. Our surgeons are uniquely trained to perform this innovative facial nerve surgery to restore your smile.
  • Collaborative approach to care: Our surgeons work closely with other specialists at Vanderbilt, including microvascular surgeons and physical therapists, to ensure that you receive comprehensive care. We can refer you to other specialists for diagnostic testing, such as visual field testing, or any other type of specialized care you may need.
  • Expert second opinions: We provide second opinions to help you make more informed and confident decisions. Our team takes your medical history, diagnostic tests, treatments and personal preferences into account. To learn more about a second opinion, call (615) 322-6180.

Facial Synkinesis Clinic

At Vanderbilt, we offer a unique therapy for a condition called synkinesis. Facial synkinesis occurs when your nerve fibers regrow or connect to other nerves after a facial nerve injury or trauma. When synkinesis occurs, the muscle groups controlled by those nerves don’t synchronize correctly. It causes involuntary movements when you move another group of facial muscles. We offer our patients the chance to receive electromyography (EMG)-guided treatment, which includes the use of botulinum toxin, every three months.

Conditions We Treat

  • Complete facial nerve paralysis
  • Facial spasm
  • Facial weakness
  • Improper eye closure
  • Oral incompetence
  • Partial facial nerve paralysis
  • Post-Bell’s palsy
  • Post-tumor
  • Smile weakness
  • Tightness in facial muscles
  • Visual field obstruction

Treatments We Offer

  • Brow lift
  • Cross-facial nerve graft
  • Electromyography (EMG)-guided treatment with botulinum toxin
  • Functional electromyography (EMG) testing
  • Gracilis multivector surgery
  • High-resolution imaging
  • Highly-selective neurectomy
  • Lateral canthoplasty
  • Nerve transfer surgery
  • Platinum and gold upper eyelid loading
  • Tarsorrhaphy


John S. Odess Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery Clinic
Medical Center East, South Tower
1215 21st Ave., S., Suite 7209
Nashville, TN 37232

Facial Nerve Disorders Care Team

For Referring Physicians

To refer a patient to Vanderbilt’s Facial Nerve Disorders team, call (615) 322-6180.