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Alternative namesParalysis of the face
DefinitionFacial paralysis is the total loss of voluntary muscle movement of one side of the face.
ConsiderationsFacial paralysis in adults is often due to Bell's palsy . This disorder (probably derived from a virus) usually affects one side of the face causing a drooping mouth, drooling , and excessive tearing from one eye. While the facial distortion usually improves over time, there may be some permanent deformity. Sometimes there is loss of taste on the affected side of the face. Sound may also be louder on the affected side.
In facial paralysis due to stroke , the eye on the affected side can be closed and the forehead can be wrinkled. This is not possible with Bell's palsy. Other muscles on one side of the body may also be involved with a stroke.
Facial paralysis due to a brain tumor generally develops gradually with accompanying headaches , seizures , or hearing loss.
In newborns, facial paralysis may result from birth trauma .
Home CareTreatment depends on the cause. Follow your health care provider's treatment recommendations. Sometimes steroids and acyclovir may be given depending on the cause.
If the eye cannot be fully closed, the cornea must be protected from drying out with prescription eye drops or gel.
Call your health care provider if
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting facial paralysis in detail include:
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
Arrangements may be made for physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy, if appropriate.
If facial paralysis from Bell's palsy persists for greater than 6 to 12 months, plastic surgery may be recommended to improve eye closure and facial appearance.
After seeing your health care provider:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to facial paralysis to your personal medical record.
Update Date: 5/8/2003Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., M.Sc., 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