Will My Nerve Weakness Recover After Jaw Reduction Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I was hoping to get your input on a nerve injury. I had jaw reduction surgery 2 months ago. The square sides were cut and chin shaved (no genioplasty). Now my mouth is crooked when I smile. I marked the numb area on my chin in the attached photo. From looking online it seems this is a mandibular nerve injury. Was this a surgical error and avoidable? Can it recover? Are there any treatments available? 

A: While there was no attached picture, this sounds like weakness of the marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve…which causes weakness of the lower lip depressor muscle making the smile asymmetric. This is a nerve injury that only time has a chance to recover of which the final outcome may take up to a year to see what degree of nerve function returns.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana