About Dr Susan Coulson

Susan's passion is to improve the long-term outcomes for patients with facial nerve paralysis and to provide evidence on which to base rehabilitation strategies.

Rehabilitation following facial nerve disorders for 20 years. Susan's research and clinical work has focussed on improving facial movement dysfunction so as to attenuate the profound impact that facial disorders can have on the social, emotional and physical function of the patient. To achieve this goal, she established a Facial Nerve Laboratory based at the Faculty of Health Sciences, and is conducting studies to investigate treatments specifically designed to improve control and quality of the smile after long-term facial nerve injury. The brain's capacity for neuroplasticity following acute injury is a key concept that is also being investigated in this work. Susan is a teaching / research academic in the Discipline of Physiotherapy and has been associated with the University of Sydney since 1980, when she began her undergraduate degree in Physiotherapy. Whilst working as a clinical physiotherapist in the 1990's she completed a research Masters Degree in Exercise & Sports Science using motion analysis system to quantify the displacement of facial movements. From 2000 she conducted further research into facial nerve rehabilitation and undertook a PhD in Physiotherapy supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award.

Selected publications

  • Chiu HC, Ada L, Butler J, Coulson SE. Relative contribution of motor impairments to activity and participation in people with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Clinical Rehabilitation, 2010 24: 454-462.
  • Coulson SE, Croxson GR, Oey V Herpes Zoster oticus: treatment and outcomes. Journal of International Advanced Otology, 2009, 5, 2, 32
  • Makeham TP, Croxson GR, Coulson SE. Infective causes of facial nerve paralysis. Otology & Neurotology, 2007; 28:100-103.
  • Coulson SE, Adams R, O'Dwyer N, Croxson GR 2006, ‘Physiotherapy rehabilitation of the smile after long term facial nerve palsy using Video Self-Modeling and Implementation Intentions', Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 134, pp 48-55.
  • Coulson SE, O'Dwyer N, Adams R, Croxson GR, 2006, ‘Bilateral conjugacy of movement initiation is retained at the eye but not at the mouth following long-term unilateral facial nerve palsy', Experimental Brain Research, vol. 173, pp. 153-158.
  • Coulson SE, Croxson GR., Adams R, O'Dwyer N 2005, ‘Reliability of the "Sydney," "Sunnybrook" and "House Brackmann" facial grading systems to assess voluntary movement and synkinesis following facial nerve paralysis' Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 132, pp. 543-549.
  • Coulson SE, O'Dwyer N, Adams R, Croxson GR, 2004, Expression of emotion and quality of life following facial nerve paralysis . Otology & Neurotology vol. 25, pp. 1014-1019.
  • Coulson SE, Croxson GR, Gilleard WL, 2002, Quantification of the three dimensional symmetry of normal facial movement. Otology & Neurotology, vol. 23, pp. 999-1002.