Treatment of Bell’s Palsy Using BTL Emface
Many people might not have heard of the condition known as Bell’s palsy. This is a condition where there is sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face. The weakness makes half of the face appear to droop. Smiles are one-sided, and the eye on the affected side resists closing. In most cases, the weakness is temporary and improves over weeks. This condition can happen to people of any age (although it is less common for people below 15 or above 60), and it affects both genders equally. While the exact cause of this condition remains unknown, experts believe that it is caused by swelling and inflammation of one of the cranial nerves – specifically the one that controls the muscles on the affected side of the face.
Common symptoms of Bell’s palsy include the following:
- Rapid onset of mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of the face. This can take place within a matter of hours to days
- Facial droop and difficulty making facial expressions, such as closing the eye or smiling
- Pain around the jaw, or in/behind the ear on the affected side
- Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side
- A loss of taste
- Changes in the amount of tears and saliva produced
Bell’s palsy is generally not considered permanent. Recovery usually occurs two weeks to six months from the onset of symptoms. Most people with Bell’s palsy do recover their full facial strength and expression. However, in rare cases, there is a small number of people who continue to have some Bell’s palsy symptoms for the rest of their lives.
While there is no known cure for Bell’s palsy, there is a new treatment that can help a patient recover more quickly from his/her condition. Let me now take you through a case where I helped a Bell’s palsy patient on his road to recovery.
The Case of Derrence
I met Derrence in early January 2023 when he visited my practice while he was back in Singapore on holiday from the US. He had flown back to visit his parents, whom he had not seen for three years due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
When he presented at my clinic, Derrence had decreased muscle movement on the left side of his face, where he was unable to raise his left brow or smile on his left side. This was, in fact, already an improvement from when he was first diagnosed with the condition in January 2021.
Bell’s palsy struck Derrence suddenly one morning while he was quarantining in the US. As he related to me, when he woke up that morning, he suddenly found that the left side of his face was not moving anymore. And when he looked in the mirror and tried to blink, he found that only his right eye was blinking. His left eye could not blink at all. Furthermore, he noticed that the left side of his lips were drooping. Derrence naturally panicked. Fearing he had suffered a stroke; he quickly drove down to his primary physician for help. This was when his doctor diagnosed him with Bell’s palsy. It was the first time he had heard of the condition, and he did not fully understand what it was.
The physician prescribed Derrence with steroids to treat the inflamed cranial nerve. Unfortunately, the condition did not recover, and he was left with residual sensory and motor impairment of the left side of his face. As he recounted, he could not drink water properly as the left side of his lips could not close; and when he ate, food would just drop out from the left side of his mouth. He also had trouble pronouncing words when he spoke, and this made him very self-conscious when he talked to other people. This was exacerbated by the fact that the left side of his face was drooping. Derrence also had to wear an eye patch over his left eye when he was sleeping. This was to prevent dust and dirt from entering, and causing an infection in his eye.
Derrence underwent many acupuncture sessions to treat his Bell’s palsy and also tried other treatments which stimulate his facial muscles/nerves. These treatments did not help him much. While there were some slight improvements as his facial features became slightly more even and he was able to close his left eye when he slept, many of the other symptoms persisted. The improvements were simply not up to his satisfaction.
While I usually use Emface for clients who want a non-surgical “mini lift” to contour their face, reduce sagging and create definition, I decided to treat Derrence with the device. I felt that the treatment would stimulate his facial muscles, while massaging connective tissues and improving blood circulation in the affected area of his face. I believed that these could potentially help Derrence see some improvement.
For his treatment, I started by using maximum power on the left side of his face, while only using half strength on the unaffected right side. After the first treatment session, I was pleased to notice that his smile was more elevated, and the left side of his face was more lifted. He was also able to open his left eye wider upon smiling and he had better control of his facial muscles. Derrence noticed the same improvements as well. He told me that he felt the single session of Emface had resulted in more improvements than he had seen in six months of acupuncture and other forms of treatment.
With each session, Derrence found that he had more control of his left facial muscles, and he could feel increased sensation on the left side of his face as well, including a tingling sensation which he had not felt for the past two years. He also found that he is now able to pronounce words better. Furthermore, Derrence also had better control of his left eye. As he happily told me, these improvements all felt amazing to him. Emface has brought back his confidence!
After five sessions, Derrence had to leave Singapore, but he said that he will continue his Emface treatment in the US. I am encouraged by his treatment results as there was clear functional improvement.
TECHNOLOGY OF EMFACE
Emface is a new facial treatment that simultaneously treats facial muscles and skin without needles. Other non-invasive
facial treatments only treat the skin, without working on the muscles. Emface uses synchronised Radiofrequency (RF) and HIFES™ energies to simultaneously increase collagen and elastin fibres, while thousands of pulses contract and tone
delicate facial muscles.
In the case of Derrence, Emface was used to stimulate his facial muscles, massage the connective tissues, and improve
blood circulation in the affected area of his face. The device enabled him to see improvements in his condition quickly,
resulting in a more even and balanced appearance, and better sounding speech.