Paralysis of the face
Facial paralysis occurs when a person is no longer able to move some or all of the muscles on one side of the face.
Facial paralysis is almost always caused by:
In people who are otherwise healthy, facial paralysis is often due to Bell's palsy, a condition in which the facial nerve becomes inflamed.
Stroke may cause facial paralysis. With a stroke, other muscles on one side of the body may also be involved.
Facial paralysis that is due to a brain tumor usually develops slowly and causes headaches, seizures, or hearing loss.
In newborns, facial paralysis may be caused by trauma during birth.
Other causes include:
Treatment depends on the cause. Follow your health care provider's treatment recommendations.
If the eye cannot fully close, the cornea must be protected from drying out with prescription eye drops or gel.
Call your doctor if you have weakness or numbness in your face. Seek emergency medical help if you experience these symptoms along with a severe headache, seizure, or blindness.
The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
Tests that may be done include:
The doctor may refer you to a physical, speech, or occupational therapist. If facial paralysis from Bell's palsy lasts for more than 6 - 12 months, plastic surgery may be recommended to improve eye closing and the appearance of the face.
Rucker JC. Cranioal neuropathies. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier;2008:chap 74.
Shy ME. Peripheral neuropathies. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 446.
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