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Cranial mononeuropathy VII
Alternative namesNeuropathy - facial; Facial nerve palsy
DefinitionCranial mononeuropathy VII is a disorder caused by damage to cranial nerve VII, involving drooping of the face and decreased ability to move the face.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Cranial mononeuropathy VII is a mononeuropathy (damage to a single nerve) that involves the seventh cranial (facial) nerve, the nerve that controls movement of the muscles of the face.
This nerve also contributes to sensation in the ear canal and the sense of taste. Isolated facial nerve damage may occur with localized lesions that put pressure on the facial nerve. This type of nerve damage can also be caused by systemic disorders such as HIV infection , sarcoidosis , Lyme disease , or other disorders. It may have no identifiable cause.
Bell's palsy is a disorder involving paralysis of the muscles innervated by the seventh cranial nerve, which is thought to be caused by an infection of the nerve by a herpesvirus.
Signs and tests
An examination will show facial drooping that may be on one side of the face or isolated to the forehead, eyelid or mouth. Examination of the tympanic membrane in the ear may reveal vesicles.
A blood test may be done to check for Lyme disease . If a more systemic cause is suspected, a lumbar puncture may be performed. If a tumor compressing the nerve is suspected, an MRI of the head may be done.
Identification and treatment of the underlying cause (if it can be identified) may relieve symptoms for some people. The disorder may disappear on its own depending on the severity of damage to the nerve.
Expectations (prognosis)The outcome varies. Some patients recover completely; others experience a permanent loss of facial movement.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if facial drooping or other symptoms of cranial mononeuropathy VII occur.
PreventionPrompt treatment of lesions that compress the facial nerve may reduce the risk of cranial mononeuropathy VII in some cases.
Update Date: 7/28/2002Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., MSc, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT