Facial nerve palsy results in the partial or complete loss of voluntary (controllable) muscle movement. This trauma occurs in an infant’s face due to pressure on the facial nerves just prior to or at the time of his or her delivery. The seventh cranial nerve, in particular, is damaged.
In many cases, the appearance of and cause of this birth injury is unknown. But in a difficult delivery, whether the doctor used or didn’t use forceps, there are many factors that may have led to the condition.
A study just released a listing of some of the factors that can cause birth injuries. Those factors include a large baby, which is often seen when the mother has diabetes. An overly long pregnancy or labor is connected to the distressing injury, as well as the use of epidural anesthesia and other medications used to cause labor and stronger contractions.
It should be noted, that in most cases, the listed factors do not lead to facial nerve palsy or any other birth trauma.
The most common form of facial nerve palsy resultant from birth trauma involves only the lower part of the facial nerve, the part that controls the muscles around the lips which is mainly apparent when the infant cries.
A separate list provided by research reveals the following symptoms. In children who have suffered from this type of nerve injury exhibit difficulty closing the eyelid on the affected side of the face. During crying, the lower face appears uneven, including the movement of the mouth. Severe cases in Hospitals in Nassau and Suffolk note no movement at all on the affected side of the face. The paralysis can stretch from the forehead to the chin.
To diagnose the condition, usually all that is needed is a physical exam. Only in the rare case is a nerve conduction study needed. If necessary, such a test can pinpoint the exact location of the nerve injury. In most cases, the infant will be closely monitored to see if the paralysis goes away on its own.
While the occurrence of this condition is lessening as delivery room doctors are being more properly trained in the use of instrumentation like forceps, there are still some cases that are a direct result of negligence or ineptitude. In such a situation, immediately contact a New York Birth Injury Attorney.