The facial nerve reaches the muscles of the face through the internal auditory canal, the mastoid portion of the skull and the middle ear. Disorders of the facial nerve may cause weakness and paralysis of the face, weakness of eye closure, the droop of the brow or lip or abnormal twitching or distortion of the face. Because of the facial nerve’s long course through the ear, problems in the ear can affect the nerve, for example, ear infection, injury and tumors. After proper diagnosis, there are a variety of medical and surgical treatments that may reverse or at least improve deformity and dysfunction caused by facial nerve disorders.
There are a number of tumors that can affect the external, middle and inner ear. Proper diagnosis by an Otologist/Neurotologist typically includes a careful physical examination, hearing testing (audiometry), and imaging studies such as CT or MRI scanning. Once diagnosed, a variety of medical and surgical treatments are employed to cure or control the tumors.