Bells Palsy Paralyzed

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*Treatment results may vary
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon

2012-Struck with Bells Palsy 10 years ago at age 35, I saw myself disappear overnight as the illness paralyzed half of my face. Looking like a stroke victim was immediate, as I could no longer smile or blink my eye completely. Early surgeries were done by other doctors to implant a small weight in my eyelid and to lift my sagging cheek. But nothing prepared me for the slow and heartbreaking disfigurement that comes with long term facial paralysis and atrophy. I watched half my face creep lower every year, my right cheek sliding down into my neck. My eyebrow slowly collapsed, pressing into my eye and blurring my vision. My mouth became a permanent frown on one side, spilling liquids and staining shirts. I began avoiding family pictures and hiding behind my hair. Botox treatments helped for a time, but became less and less effective over the years. Enter Dr. Ariel Rad. With the hands of an artist, he brought me back to myself. Eyebrow lift sutures, each one like precisely placed miniature slings radiating over my eyes, returned the natural curve of my eyebrows and immediately relieved the pressure on my eye. I could see clearly and my eyebrows were even again. For the first time in years I didn’t look like a quizzical “Spock”. My cheeks, one forever unresponsive to any emotion and setting up house in my neck, were reintroduced to my face. Dr. Rad not only put them back where they belonged, but somehow found a way to return their symmetry as much as possible, so the paralyzed side matches my other side, both in repose and when smiling. Like miniature scaffolding inside my cheeks, he tailored each side to minimize the difference. He tweaked the corner of my mouth, slightly pulling it up so that it’s even but not so much that I have a smirk, and I have less of a ‘dribble’ effect, as I’m better able to hold liquids in my mouth now. He then tightened the loose skin on my neck left behind from the fallen cheek. I now have a jaw-line again. Am I dying from a horrible disease? No. But still, Dr. Rad saved me. There is no prosthetic for your face. When your smile is stolen from you and your reflection gradually deforms before your eyes, you are forced to say goodbye to a part of your identity you had known and presented to the world your whole life. Dr. Rad gave me back a part of myself. He gave me back to my family photos and my confidence to look people in the eye again. Never have I met a doctor with such passion for his craft and compassion for his patient. Yet, he was so completely without ego it’s almost unnerving…and refreshing. He listens to what you think and feel and then delivers ten-fold. If ever there were a reason to believe there are people on this earth doing what they were meant to do, Dr. Ariel Rad is one. I will forever be grateful that I found him

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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