- This is a type of facial paralysis, occurring suddenly on one side of the face. It is thought to be caused by an inflammation of the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII). 60% of afflicted patients get better without treatment, while 90% of those receiving treatment show improvement. Since a Stroke may have a similar
appearance, it is important to make sure that Bell's palsy
is truly the cause. Rare tumors can also cause similar
symptoms, and these need to be excluded as
- Ear pain may precede the attack
- Face feels stiff
- Difficulty closing the eyelids
- Difficulty eating and smiling
- Loss of taste on one side of the
- Hypersensitivity to noises
- Bell's palsy often follows an upper
- Excessive eye tearing or lack of
tearing on one side.
- Exposure to a virus or cold may be
the cause in some cases.
- Facial nerve injury due to head trauma, tumors, Herpes Zoster, or Herpes Simplex
vesicles in the outer ear canal (Ramsay-Hunt syndrome) can
also lead to paralysis of facial nerve.
- Bilateral facial paralysis occurs
very rarely, and is often due to neurological disease such
as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
- Paralysis of one side of the face
- One of the sides of the face appears drooped
- CT scan or MRI may be done to rule out Stroke.
- No treatment is an option,
especially if the paralysis is mild.
- Eye patch is helpful if the eye
cannot close completely.
- Corticosteroids, e.g., Prednisone
- Corticosteroids work best if they
are started sooner than later.
- Lubricating eye drops, if the
eyelid remains open.
- Recent studies show that Acyclovir
(an anti-viral medication) may be
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