An unfortunate result of most types of facial paralysis is the loss of the ability to close the eyelid. The inability to blink and close the eye puts the eye at great risk for injury or infection due to the fact the eyelid keeps the eyeball lubricated and protected from foreign objects. Sometimes in patients with facial palsy, normal eyelid function does return, but for those who do not regain movement, the surgical implantation of gold eyelid weights may be an effective option. Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS is a world-renowned expert in the field of facial paralysis who works alongside a team of oculoplastic surgeons whom have helped countless patients regain normal eyelid function through the use of gold weights. Dr. Azizzadeh and his team are experts in gold eyelid weights treatments for facial paralysis patients to help them regain the eyelid function.
What Are Eyelid Gold Weights?
To help prevent eye damage and restore the eyelid closure movement that has been impaired by facial paralysis, a small gold weight can be surgically implanted inside of the upper eyelid. The gold eyelid weight is made to assist the eyelid in closing using only weight and gravity. Eyelid gold weights are made in a variety of sizes and weights to ensure that each patient gets the perfect weight for them. During a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh and an oculoplastic surgeons at the Facial Paralysis Institute, the best size and weight for your unique case will be decided upon.
Eye Paralysis Causes
Eye paralysis is often caused by damage to the seventh cranial nerve, also called the facial nerve, which can result in facial nerve palsy and eye paralysis. Causes for facial nerve paralysis include Bell’s palsy, serious bacterial infections, facial trauma, and tumors. To aid patients in understanding how these issues can impact the eye, it’s helpful to take a deeper look at each eye paralysis cause individually:
- Bell’s palsy: this acute, unexplained paralysis in the face usually happens suddenly, peaks within a few days, and resolves in many patients over the course of several months. In some cases, however, this condition can cause permanent facial and eye paralysis.
- Bacterial and viral infections: there are a host of bacterial as well as viral infections that can irritate or damage the facial nerve and cause eye paralysis, including mastoiditis, otitis media, Lyme disease, enterovirus, polio, mumps, and HIV, to name a few. If a patient is experiencing unexplained facial or eye paralysis, one of these bacterial or viral infections may be the root cause.
- Facial trauma: car accidents, sports-related injuries, and traumatic injuries of the face or brain can all damage the facial nerve, resulting in eye muscle paralysis.
- Tumors: if a tumor is present anywhere in the region of the skull, it may cause facial paralysis that slowly becomes is noticeable slowly, over time, unlike the rapid onset of Bell’s palsy.
- Other conditions: patients suffering from conditions such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, and diabetes complications can also experience eyelid paralysis. Some people born with conditions such as Moebius syndrome may experience eyelid paralysis from birth.
Until a person’s eyelids stop functioning as they should, they probably don’t wonder about eye paralysis causes. Once the eyelids stop closing all the way, many problems can arise because the cornea (the clear, outermost layer of the eye) is constantly exposed to air. This dryness of the cornea can cause infections, swelling, and redness to develop in the eye. Left untreated, an eyelid that won’t close can lead to corneal ulcers and vision problems.
Individuals dealing with an eyelid that won’t close all the way or eye muscle paralysis should seek out a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh to discuss options for restoring eyelid functionality. Until a permanent solution is achieved, patients should consult with an ophthalmologist to discuss how best to protect the eye. The eye doctor may suggest eye lubricant drops, an eye patch, or tape to keep the lid closed.
Treating Incomplete Eye Closures Due to Facial Paralysis with Gold Weights
There are several different surgical options for treating incomplete eye closure caused by facial paralysis, though eyelid gold weights are often considered one of the best. The treatment option will depend on each individual patient’s underlying etiology and will be determined by Dr. Azizzadeh during the consultation. Gold weights have proven to be an effective way to restore eyelid closure in patients with facial paralysis and often reduce the need for lubricating eye drops and eye-protecting devices.
The process for gold weight implantation will begin with the selection of the most fitting weight for the patient’s eye. Dr. Azizzadeh will temporarily attach gold weights of different sizes and weights to the patient’s lid to find the one that produces the most natural eyelid closure. Once the proper weight is determined, Dr. Azizzadeh and his team of highly specialized experts will implant the weight in the upper eyelid. The most commonly used procedure for implanting these weights involves incising the upper eyelid crease and cutting through the muscle in order to expose the area where the gold weight is anchored directly with sutures. The weight will then use the power of gravity to close the eyelid and allow the patient to blink once again.
Although gold weight placement may be clinically beneficial for many patients, this procedure alone may be inadequate in some with facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy. Thus, lower eyelid reconstruction is often needed as well to achieve optimal results and to reduce long-term complications in patients receiving gold weight placement.
Benefits of Gold Eyelid Weights
The benefits of gold eyelid weights for facial paralysis patients include:
- Improved blinking
- Improved eyelid closure
- Enhanced protection for the surface of the eye
- Relief of dry eye symptoms
Dr. Azizzadeh is happy to teach facial paralysis patients about gold eyelid weights, how they work, and what their benefits are. By doing so, Dr. Azizzadeh helps patients determine if this treatment can help them achieve their desired results.
Am I A Candidate For Eyelid Gold Weights?
Gold eyelid weights are safe and effective and have been shown to help facial paralysis patients restore the eyelid function. A good candidate for this particular treatment is a patient suffering from some form of facial paralysis that is inhibiting natural eyelid closure. There are a couple of other options available as well, like platinum weights and eyelid springs, and the best treatment option for a patient’s specific case will be carefully considered by the team at the Facial Paralysis Institute. If an individual is struggling with the side effects of not being able to blink or close their eyes and are looking for a minimally invasive, natural-looking solution, they can contact the Facial Paralysis Institute today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh and his team of oculoplastic surgeons to discuss the best treatment plan.
What to Expect During a Gold Eyelid Weights Consultation
Gold eyelid weights are an advanced facial paralysis treatment, and Dr. Azizzadeh requires a patient consultation to determine if it is the proper treatment. During a consultation, Dr. Azizzadeh learns about a patient and his or her facial and eyelid paralysis symptoms. He also performs various tests to assess a patient’s condition so he can provide the best-possible treatment recommendations.
If Dr. Azizzadeh determines that a patient is a viable candidate, he will outline all aspects of the treatment. He will explain what a patient should expect during a gold eyelid weights procedure, as well as recovery following treatment. Additionally, Dr. Azizzadeh allocates time and resources to respond to a patient’s eyelid weights treatment concerns and questions. Dr. Azizzadeh strives to ensure a patient is comfortable with a gold eyelid weights procedure. As such, Dr. Azizzadeh will do whatever he can to help a patient make an informed treatment decision.
Gold Eyelid Weights FAQ’s
Q: What is the recovery like after gold eyelid weight implantation?
A: The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient can return home the very same day. From start to finish, the entire procedure takes roughly 20 to 30 minutes. The patient is usually able to close their eye immediately following implantation and the function improves with time. Some swelling and/or bruising of the treatment area is common after surgery but will heal in the coming weeks.
Q: Will the gold weight be visible once it’s implanted?
A: There will be a slightly visible bump on the eyelid where the gold weight is implanted. The goal is to place it in the contour of the upper eyelid where it will be as inconspicuous as possible. There are other treatment options, like Platinum Chains, that have been shown to be even less apparent upon implantation. During your consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, world-renowned facial paralysis expert, the best treatment for you will be decided upon.
Q: Why are the weights made of gold?
A: The gold makeup makes this type of implant safe for use in MRI scans, which is important as patients with facial palsy may need to be able to have imaging done as their condition is monitored. It is also unusual for gold to irritate a patient’s skin, making it a good choice for use on the delicate skin of the eyelid.
Q: How much do gold eyelid weights weigh?
A: Although gold eyelid weights are constructed from a strong, heavy metal, they are lightweight and won’t interfere with the eye or eyelid. Generally, gold eyelid weights weigh between 1.0 and 1.5 grams, or about the same weight as a jelly bean.
Q. Does eyelid gold weight placement require anesthesia?
A: Local anesthesia may be given to a patient prior to a gold weight implant eyelid procedure. If a patient feels anxious about the surgery, a light sedative may be given to help ease the nerves and help the patient relax throughout the procedure.
Q. Is a gold weight eyelid procedure painful?
A: Dr. Azizzadeh takes steps to help minimize pain and reduce the risk of complications during a gold weight eyelid procedure. He offers full details about what a patient should expect during the procedure before it is performed. Dr. Azizzadeh also offers tips to help a patient prepare for gold weight implant surgery, as well as provides recommendations to help a patient fully recover after treatment.
Q. Is eyelid weights surgery the best treatment for incomplete eye closure?
A: The best treatment for incomplete eye closure varies from person to person. To determine how to best treat incomplete eye closure, Dr. Azizzadeh requests a patient consultation. This allows Dr. Azizzadeh to examine a patient and his or her incomplete eye closure. Then, Dr. Azizzadeh offers a personalized treatment plan to his patient, which may include eyelid weights, platinum chains, or eyelid springs.
Q. How much does gold weight eyelid surgery cost?
A: Dr. Azizzadeh outlines the cost of a gold weight eyelid procedure before the treatment is performed. He also responds to any concerns or questions about the procedure at this time, thereby ensuring that a patient can evaluate all aspects of treatment. Because the procedure is medically necessary due to the various complications that can ensue if incomplete eyelid closure is left untreated, most insurance plans cover the cost of eyelid weight surgery.
Q. Which is a better option to treat incomplete eye closure: gold eyelid weights or platinum chains?
A: For those who are exploring treatment for incomplete eye closure, platinum chains sometimes provide a viable alternative to gold eyelid weights. The chains consist of platinum, a high-density metal, and are slightly less visible than gold eyelid weights. Platinum chains also deliver results similar to those associated with gold eyelid weights. To determine if a patient should receive gold eyelid weights or platinum chains for incomplete eye closure, it is paramount to get an assessment from Dr. Azizzadeh. This assessment ensures that a patient can learn about all available treatment options for incomplete eye closure.
Q. Which is a better option to treat incomplete eye closure: gold eyelid weights or eyelid springs?
A: Eyelid springs are metal springs that can be surgically implanted into the eyelid to help restore the eyelid function. In certain instances, eyelid springs are a better option than gold eyelid weights to treat incomplete eye closure. To find out, a patient must undergo an assessment performed by Dr. Azizzadeh. This ensures that a patient can receive insights into the severity of his or her incomplete eye closure, along with a personalized treatment recommendation from Dr. Azizzadeh.
Q: What are the dangers of not having complete eye closure?
A: Closing our eyes allows us to protect them from foreign objects entering and causing damage. Our eyes also lubricate themselves naturally through the blinking process, and not being able to blink can cause the eyes to become painfully dry. It is important to seek treatment for incomplete eye closure to prevent permanent damage and pain.
Q: Are there other treatments available to treat inadequate eyelid closure?
A: There are a number of different treatment options available to help restore eyelid function in patients with facial paralysis, and Dr. Azizzadeh will determine the best course of action during your consultation. Aside from gold weights, platinum chains and eyelid springs are two of the most commonly performed procedures that have proven to be highly successful in helping patients with facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy.
Why Trust the Facial Paralysis Institute?
The doctors at the Facial Paralysis Institute are experts in their field and believe that a multidisciplinary approach to facial palsy treatment ensures the best results. When performing eyelid surgeries, Dr. Azizzadeh works closely with oculoplastic surgeon Guy Massry, MD in order to effectively treat impaired eyelid function caused by facial paralysis.
Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon, trained at Harvard, whose expertise in facial paralysis makes him one of the most highly regarded facial plastic surgeons in the country. In addition to being featured in various media outlets like Discovery Health, The New York Times, and the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Azizzadeh is actively involved in research as well as teaching medical students at UCLA.
Guy Massry, MD is an oculoplastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgery of the eyelids. Known as “Dr. Fix-It,” Dr. Massry is a graduate of the USC School of Medicine and is highly regarded among his peers for his work and research in the field of oculoplastic surgery.
Together, Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Massry collaborate to give their facial paralysis patients the best possible result when it comes to restoring eyelid function.
Contact the Expert Team at the Facial Paralysis Institute Today
If you are interested in learning more about eyelid weights and how they can help you regain the ability to close your eyes, contact facial paralysis expert Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FASC, and the expert oculoplastic surgeons at the Facial Paralysis Institute in Beverly Hills today to schedule a consultation online or by calling (310) 928-9830. There is no need to continue suffering through painful dry eyes and eye damage caused by your facial palsy condition. No matter what eye paralysis causes patients may be dealing with, the experts at the Facial Paralysis Institute are here to help.