Following an injury to the facial nerve, rehabilitation of the facial muscles can be a challenging journey. Studies have shown that with the right exercises, patients with facial nerve disorders can better recover meaningful movement and improve facial symmetry.
The face is an extremely complex anatomical region, with multiple connections and unique patterns of movement depending on the patient. When the facial nerve on one side isn’t working properly, often the ‘good’ side of the face makes increased movements in an attempt to compensate. This may cause patients with facial palsy to feel as though their muscles are tight, overworked, or spasming.
Individualised treatment programs help patients improve facial function and symmetry, and may combine multiple approaches such as Botox injections, surgery, and physiotherapy.
Dr Catherine Meller works with a dedicated Facial Physiotherapist, Dr Ellie Seckold, to give you the best chance of achieving facial symmetry following an injury to the facial nerve.
THE FACIAL NERVE CLINIC AT PRINCE OF WALES HOSPITAL
The Facial Nerve Clinic at Prince of Wales Hospital is a public outpatient service dedicated to the needs of patients with facial nerve injuries or disorders.
Our clinic runs once a month on a Wednesday, and provides;
dedicated ENT specialists to assess and investigate your condition
the ability for same day electrophysiology testing (ENOG, EMG) of the facial nerve, to give you more information about the likelihood of recovery
Botox injections free of charge to those who qualify under the PBS for facial muscle spasming
facial physiotherapy and social support
DR CATHERINE MELLER is the Facial Nerve and Facial Reconstructive Specialist that oversees this clinic. Aside from diagnosis and education, Dr Meller can provide Botox injections and small in clinic procedures on the day where appropriate. For patients requiring surgery, this may be provided through the Prince of Wales or Sydney Hospitals, where she works with Plastics and Opthalmic surgeons to provide the highest quality, patient centred care.
DR ELLIE SECKOLD is our specialist facial nerve physiotherapist.
Dr Ellie Seckold (Frayne) completed her PhD titled "Motor Control and self regulatory fatigue following facial nerve paralysis" at the University of Sydney. She also graduated from Physiotherapy with first class honours, the university medal and young alumni achievement award.
Ellie's research explored the position sense capability (proprioception) of the facial muscles of expression and temporomandibular joint (jaw). She also investigated fatigue in the context of face rehabilitation exercises.
Ellie treats facial nerve paralysis, jaw/TMJ disorders, and orofacial pain, and is passionate about delivering high quality evidence-based physiotherapy. She recognises that every face, head and jaw is unique and that good rehabilitation can restore quality of life.
PAULA SANKEY is our Head and Neck Clinical Nurse Consultant, who provides social and logistical support particularly for patients from remote areas, or those with a disadvantaged background. She can help you to navigate the public hospital, ensure clinic appointments are made, and advise you of the services at the Prince of Wales that may helpful.
We welcome you to see us at the Facial Nerve Clinic. A referral from your GP is required and can be faxed to the outpatient department using the details below;
At the clinic she is accompanied by ENT surgeons in training, who are responsible for helping to co-ordinate the care of yourself or your loved one. This may include prescribing medications, performing in house electrophysiologic tests, or providing referrals for imaging or other diagnostic testing.
PRINCE OF WALES HOSPITAL
(02) 9382 0400
(02) 9382 0422
Once your referral is received, the hospital will contact you with an appointment time. The waiting time for an appointment may vary due to the high number of urgent and acute pathologies we treat. If you are concerned that your condition is urgent, please see your GP, or contact your nearest emergency department for care.
SYDNEY CENTRE FOR EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
Suite 2, Level 1, Building 2
49 Frenchs Forest Rd East
(02) 9451 9883
(02) 9451 9848
PRINCE OF WALES HOSPITAL, RANDWICK
ENT Outpatient Clinic
Level 2, Barker St. entrance
(02) 9382 0400
Outpatient referrals are required for review in Dr. Meller's Clinic on campus at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick.
Please call for an appointment.
Additional information for your outpatient appointment can be viewed here.