Will My Paralyzed Lower Lip From Jaw Augmentation And Neck Liposuction Ever Recover?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had jaw augmentation and a little lipo in the neck area…It was performed 2 weeks ago today….I can’t move my bottom lip in a downward motion which means I can’t smile….I still have a great deal of swelling although significantly less…Is this nerve damage permanent or could the swelling have something to do with it.Your advice would be greatly appreciated as I am very nervous. Thank you. It was performed by a very reputable surgeon but none the less I now bad outcomes can happen to anyone.

A: What you have is weakness of the marginal mandibular nerve branch of the facial nerves. This tiny nerve branch, which supplies the depressor muscle of the lower lips, crosses over the jawline on the side of the chin. It is not really at risk from the jaw (chin) augmentation since that is down at the bone level which is deeper. It is at risk from liposuction of the jowls particularly if liposuction is done at or above the jawline which is exactly where the nerve runs. Nerve injury from liposuction , because it is a blunt instrument, does not cut the nerve but bruises it. This may make it weak for a period of time (unable to lower lip) but recovery almost always occur. Nerve recovery does not parallel swelling reduction, however, and usually takes much longer. In most cases llike yours, full functional nerve recovery can take up to three months or longer. Given that there is no other treatment, patience is all you can do for it.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana