I was in an accident, my left maxillary nerve was severed. Can nerves be repaired after 50+ yrs or is there a time limit? Photo

I am 63 years old and when I was 16 years old I was in a horrible car accident and the left maxillary nerve was severed. After the accident my face was paralyzed around my mouth and I have a scar that extends from the top of my brow to the bottom right side of my chin. I had 3 plastic surgeries to remove scar tissue along with electrical treatments 3 times a week for 6 months and did get a little bit of the feeling and movement back.

Doctor Answers 6

Longstanding nerve injury

Dear Linda,

There are 2 different nerve issues involved. The motor nerve a branch of cranial nerve seven inner cares the muscles of the face and usually the muscle cannot recover after 2 years of lack of stimulation from the nerve. Hence that's the bad news. The sensory nerve is a branch of cranial nerve 5 although best to have immediate repair does not have the same limitations and may get some regeneration but the odds are definitely against you. You age decreases the chance of recover even with repair and I think you may have no more than 10% chance to get some sensation return. It will never be completely normal sensation even if there is a return of some. There are other procedures that can help the appearance and make it look better and more balanced. Good luck!

Dr. Kaila MD FRCSC

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Reanimation of the face 50 years after injury.

At this point time it's doubtful that any microvascular repair of motor nerves would be of benefit.However anything's possible so you may want to get the opinion of someone who specializes in facial reanimation.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Facial nerve injuries 49 years ago

It is unlikely that much can be done BUT
if you are anywhere near Newport News, Virginia, I strongly suggest that you contact the office of Dr. Julia Terzis. She is a pioneer in facial nerve repair.
Assuming you can see her in consultation, she should be able to tell if anything can be done, and if so, what approach and what to expect. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Limited options...at this point

Thank you for sharing your photo. I am sorry to hear about your accident and injury. Unfortunately, your reconstruction options after so many years is quite limited. In general, primary repair of nerve injury gives you best results if done prior to 18 months to 24 months time period. 
as to obtain symmetry, I recommend a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon in your area who can discuss both invasive and non invasive treatment options.

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Nerve Injury

Thank you for your picture.  I am sorry to here about your ordeal.  Nerve that is longstanding like yours unfortunately can not be successfully repaired at this point.  If a nerve is injured but repaired within 18 months then the outcome has a better chance of success.

Earl Stephenson, Jr, MD, DDS, FACS

Facial asymmetry after nerve injury 50 years ago

Unfortunately, primary repair of the injured facial nerve branch is not possible 50 years after the initial injury. However, there may be other surgeries that could improve your facial symmetry. I recommend consulting with plastic or facial plastic surgeons in your local area to help determine your best treatment options. Thank you for sharing your photo and question. Best wishes.

Gregory Park, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 164 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.