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Treatment for Moebius Syndrome

Moebius applies to congenital and acquired nerve tissue damage in the neck. This condition, which affects nerves that supply organs including the eye, ear, brain, and face, can manifest as a drooping sensation on one side of the head while affecting the ability to look downward. The outcome of this disorder depends mainly on how much muscle activity is present on both sides of your body.

The leading cause of the syndrome is unknown, but it can occur due to an injury or even an infection such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Specific treatment varies depending on diagnosis; some methods include physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and vestibular rehabilitation.

Treatment Methods

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a treatment option for Moebius syndrome. Physical therapy is meant to improve mobility and muscle strength on your weak side, which may be your paralyzed side, by using the strong muscles on your other side. Your physical therapist will also provide you with exercises that will help strengthen the other muscles to increase movement and relieve the pain. As well as using physical therapy, it is also essential to stretch and exercise the muscles of your face and neck as that can help improve range-of-motion on your paralyzed side. A physical therapist can strengthen your arm, shoulder, and chest muscles through resistance training.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is also a treatment option for Moebius. Occupational therapy improves daily living activities by focusing on eating, walking, bathing, and dressing. A therapist will provide you with different splints to support the weak muscle in occupational therapy. Some of these splints are made using elastic rubber fitted onto your hand. Occupational therapists are also experts at providing specialized equipment that can help improve your condition if you live alone or have mobility issues.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is considered a treatment option for Moebius. This type of treatment involves specially designed exercises to help you regain average balance after damage to the nerves in your inner ear. The vestibular system consists of the semicircular canals, the utricle and saccule, and the three semicircular ducts. Each of these parts sends signals to the brain to tell you about your head position and movements relative to gravity. In other words, your body can sense motion in all three spatial dimensions; up/down, forward/back, and side-to-side (yaw, pitch, and roll).

Surgical Therapy

The last method used for Moebius’s treatment is surgical therapy. The goal of surgery is to re-attach the nerves on your paralyzed side that were damaged. The doctor can either re-connect the damaged nerve directly or attach a nerve from another part of the body to the damaged one. Suppose your doctor decides that surgery is necessary. In that case, you may be treated with a combination of physical therapy and occupational therapy before and after surgery to build up muscle strength and control your weak side. However, this is not necessarily a cure.

Who Can Be Treated?

The syndrome is a rare condition that affects less than 1 per 10,000 people. This condition can be congenital or acquired. The congenital form of the disease occurs during development in the womb and is present at birth. Causes for congenital Moebius are unknown, but it seems to run in families. Acquired Moebius may occur due to an injury or an infection, such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

What Are The Possible Complications?

In congenital cases, symptoms may be less severe than the acquired variety and may include a drooping mouth, problems with swallowing, and decreased facial expression. Acquired Moebius can occur at any age and can cause the weakening of the muscles on one side of your body. This syndrome can also cause a drooping sensation on one side of the face and a drooping eyelid. You may also experience pain or tingling sensations in your arms or hands, numbness in your fingers or legs, and/or difficulty moving your eyes. Symptoms related to weakened muscles include difficulty walking and problems walking upstairs.

How Long Does Treatment Last?

Some people only require a few weeks of therapy. Others may need therapy for months or years. With treatment, the symptoms of Moebius can be lessened. In severe cases, treatment methods may not eliminate symptoms. But with the proper treatment, an individual can learn to manage their condition and lead a whole and productive life.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects differ depending on the type of treatment. Some treatment methods may cause pain or discomfort, while others may cause side effects such as nausea or vomiting. It is important to discuss possible side effects with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.

What Is The Long-Term Outlook?

The symptoms of this disorder are determined by the specific areas of the body that are affected and affected nerves. These symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the neurological damage caused by the Moebius. The most common symptom of Moebius is facial weakness, which can occur in any area of your face. Other more severe symptoms include difficulty walking, numbness and tingling sensations in your arms or feet, as well as difficulty with speech or swallowing. There is no known cure for this disease, and treatment can last from weeks to years.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of An Individual With Moebius?

The life expectancy of an individual with Moebius depends on the individual’s state. Many individuals with this disease can survive up to a decade after initial infection. Although the symptoms are usually not life-threatening, they can still be frustrating, mainly during everyday activities. For example, many people with this syndrome report difficulty walking up and down the stairs. This inability to walk up or down the stairs can make independent living difficult, significantly decreasing one’s quality of life.

What Is The Cost Of Treatment?

The cost of Moebius treatment is dependent on the severity of the symptoms, the type of symptoms, and one’s geographic location. Since not much research has been done in this field, many types of therapy, such as surgical treatment or medication, are still being developed. Therefore, these treatments may be costly due to their unproven nature. In most cases, health insurance can cover treatments if deemed necessary and effective forms of therapy.

Final Thought

The cause of the syndrome is still unknown. Researchers have not been able to find any solid solution to the syndrome and continue to pursue their studies. Since this is a rare condition, there are only a few known cases globally, and research regarding this disease is ongoing.