Monday, January 17, 2011

Nerve severed during neck tumor removal, lost ROM on lower right half of lip

I am an elementary SLP and I work with a colleague who had a cancerous tumor removed from her neck about 6 months ago. A facial nerve was nicked during surgery and she lost ROM and sensation on the right lower portion of her bottom lip. Speech is good, but she is very self-concious about how she looks. Smile is asymmetrical and she also has some difficulty keeping food in her mouth while eating due to decreased feeling. She asked me if I knew of any SLP's that could help her. Do you do outpatient therapy for this and if so may I refer her to your office?

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...
If the facial nerve was only damaged, but remains intact, there is certainly the possibility of any degree of recovery; in this case, simple oral-motor exercises may be helpful and can be prescribed by any speech-language pathologist. If the nerve was severed intra-operatively, recovery would then not be expected, in which case there are many surgical options available. In that case, consultation with a facial plastic surgeon would be the first step.

Thank you for your question.
Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP

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