How do you think you would feel if you lost your ability to smile? After spending countless hours talking to people affected by facial palsy I am convinced that we should never underestimate the importance of our smile. It’s something we take totally for granted, until we lose it.
I particularly remember one of my patients from my time in residence at Mass. Eye & Ear Hospital. She was a primary school teacher. Her smile was fundamental to her personality and her profession because it helped her connect with the children. When she acquired facial palsy, she lost not only her ability to express herself but also her ability to take pleasure from her work. Every time she smiled, one side of her face would grimace and the other side wouldn't move. The kids kept asking what was wrong with her face. She had to stop teaching because she had lost all of the joy that she used to experience in her job.
Patients like this drive me to continuously aspire towards better solutions. I shared this story in a podcast with Affectiva after my paper "In the Eye of the Beholder” on the use of artificial intelligence to assist in the process of smile reanimation was published.
I believe that sharing information, collaborating, and tapping into the experiences of others are important factors in creating a more effective and personalised healthcare system.
Facial Nerve Symposium
On Friday 11 October I am convening the inaugural Facial Nerve Symposium with my colleague Dr Tim Eviston from the Sydney Facial Nerve Service at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Our 2019 theme: State of the Art and Research Frontiers
Join us and hear from leading specialists in Ophthalmology, ENT/Head & Neck and Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery and Allied Health exploring new technologies and techniques in the pursuit of improved patient outcomes through shared knowledge and experience.
Registration is open to all specialists, junior doctors, medical students and allied health staff with an interest in reconstructive head and neck surgery and facial paralysis surgery.
The day kicks off at 8.30am and the program runs to 16.30. It will be followed by drinks & canapés on the Lifehouse Balcony. The event is free, but we ask that you register by Friday 4 October because space is limited.