Facial palsy

Weakness of the facial muscles due to inflammation of or damage to the facial nerve. The condition is usually temporary and affects only one side of the face. Facial palsy is most often due to Bell’s palsy, which occurs for no known reason. Less commonly, facial palsy is associated with herpes zoster affecting the ear and facial nerve. Facial palsy may also result from surgical damage to this nerve or compression of the nerve by a tumour. Facial palsy usually comes on suddenly. The eyelid and corner of the mouth droop on one side of the face and there may be pain in the ear on that side. The sense of taste may be impaired or sounds may seem to be unnaturally loud. In many cases, facial palsy clears up without treatment. Pain can be relieved by taking analgesic drugs, and exercising the facial muscles may aid recovery. In some cases, it may be necessary to tape the eyelid shut at bedtime in order to avoid the risk of corneal abrasion. Bell’s palsy may be treated with corticosteroid drugs to reduce inflammation and speed recovery. Re-routing or grafting of nerve tissue may help people with palsies as a result of injury or a tumour.


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