Facial nerve palsy

Facial nerve paralysis: causes and treatment

Facial nerve paralysis is paralysis of half of the face. Most people recover spontaneously within one month of injury, but in 30% of cases, patients show a late or incomplete recovery.

What is seventh facial nerve paralysis?

Facial nerve paralysis

It is a paralysis of half of the face, often accompanied by mild pain, numbness and loss of sensation in half of the face, in addition to increased sensitivity to sound and a change in taste.

Hemifacial paralysis is usually idiopathic, but a proportion of cases may be caused by the herpes virus in the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve.

Bell's palsy is more common in people aged 15 to 40 years.

Most people recover spontaneously within one month of nerve injury, but in 30% of cases, patients show a delayed or incomplete recovery.

It is a condition that affects only one side of the face, in which the muscles on one side of the face become weak or temporarily paralyzed, causing them to droop or stiffen on that side.

Facial nerve and paralysis
Facial nerve and paralysis

To get an accurate diagnosis of the disease, you must know the most important symptoms.

Symptoms and signs of Bell's palsy

The most obvious sign is drooping on one side of the patient's face, difficulty closing the eye on the affected side, and difficulty smiling and making other facial expressions.

In rare cases, nerve paralysis can occur on both sides of the face.

In addition to the difficulty in moving the muscles of the face, some other symptoms that appear in sufferers can be noted:

  • dry eyes and mouth
  • Pain in the jaws or behind the ear, which often occurs before symptoms appear (1 to 4 days before they appear)
  • a headache
  • Weakness in the sense of taste
  • ringing in the ears
  • Increasing sensitivity to sounds where the sounds sound much louder than usual in the days before symptoms appear
  • Difficulty speaking, eating and drinking
Symptoms of facial nerve paralysis
Symptoms of facial nerve paralysis

Causes of facial nerve paralysis

The cause of this condition is still not fully defined, but it is believed that the cause is damage or inflammation in the facial nerve, which leads to swelling and enlargement in it.

Where the facial nerve passes through a narrow bony area inside the skull, and as a result of its enlargement, it is compressed within the surrounding solid bone, causing a defect in the work of this nerve.

Viral infections may play a role in facial nerve paralysis, as the herpes virus 1 (human herpes virus 1) is responsible in a large number of cases, and there are some other viruses related to facial nerve paralysis:

  • German measles Rubella
  • Mumps virus
  • Influenza B
  • Chickenpox and shingles Herpes zoster
  • Epstein-Barr mononucleosis
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • virus hand, foot and mouth disease Coxsackievirus

Predisposing factors for facial nerve paralysis

There are many factors that increase the likelihood of infection, including:

  • pregnancy; The risk of infection may increase if the female is pregnant, especially during the last three months of pregnancy or in the first week after childbirth.
  • diabetes is; where shown Studies Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of paralysis.
  • Some autoimmune diseases.
  • cold sores;
  • Hypertension.

Diagnosis of facial nerve palsy

There is no specific laboratory test to diagnose it, but it is detected by what is called an exclusionary diagnosis, which means that doctors do not diagnose it until after all other possibilities have been ruled out.

A complete physical examination and careful examination of the facial muscles is usually done by trying all facial expressions such as smiling.

Your doctor may order an EMG to measure the electrical activity of the muscle.

The doctor may also order an X-ray of the skull or an MRI to make sure there is no tumor or fracture in the bone pressing on the nerve.

Facial nerve paralysis treatment

Most people with this condition recover spontaneously without receiving treatment.

In some people, we may notice a longer recovery period. In some rare cases, symptoms are permanent, but usually improvement occurs within the three weeks following the onset of symptoms.

There are some treatments that may help you recover faster, such as corticosteroids that help reduce swelling and increase the likelihood of nerve function returning to normal and thus reducing the duration of symptoms of paralysis, noting that they work best if taken within 72 hours of symptoms starting.

Treatment with antivirals may be needed if symptoms are caused by herpes virus 1 (human herpes virus 1) or shingles (chickenpox virus).

If paralysis impairs closing of the eye, the affected eye should be protected using sterile eye drops to keep it moist.

Facial massage movements must be observed.

Any surgical intervention to treat facial nerve paralysis is not recommended unless symptoms persist for a long time or when complications occur.

Complications

  • Facial nerve damage
  • Permanent weakness of facial muscles
  • Involuntary muscle contraction
  • Partial or complete blindness of an eye that has not closed due to excessive dryness and scratching of the cornea

The difference between facial nerve paralysis and stroke

It is important to know the difference between the symptoms of facial nerve paralysis and stroke on the face, as both are the most common causes of facial muscle weakness.

While seventh nerve palsy is not an emergency, a stroke needs emergency treatment in a well-equipped hospital.

Therefore, it is important to prompt medical evaluation of any sudden weakness of the facial muscles to rule out it being part of the symptoms of stroke, especially if it is accompanied by the inability to raise the arm or difficulty speaking.

  • In the case of facial nerve paralysis, we notice the disappearance of the forehead wrinkles on the affected side when raising the eyebrows.
  • In the case of a stroke, the forehead wrinkles are not lost on the affected side of the face, and the person is able to raise his eyebrows in the affected area due to the presence of double nerve feeding coming from the brain to these areas.
The difference between stroke and facial nerve paralysis
In a stroke, the forehead wrinkles are not lost on the affected side
The difference between stroke and facial nerve paralysis
Double nerve feeding coming from the brain to the areas of the face

In most people, facial nerve paralysis is a temporary disease, while in a limited number of patients, they may suffer from some of its symptoms throughout their lives. Therefore, when you suspect that you have symptoms of this disease, do not hesitate to ask for a specialist doctor’s advice. You can contact us, we are the Bimmerstan Center from Here.


Sources

  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  2. healthline
  3. NHS
  4. Mayo Clinic

Common Questions

Studies have not documented or demonstrated that exposure to cold is a risk factor for Bell's palsy because it is a neurological disorder of unknown etiology.

Facial nerve paralysis is not a serious condition, but its symptoms may resemble those of a stroke, so it is recommended to consult a doctor as soon as you feel facial weakness or paralysis.

Bell's palsy, or facial paralysis itself, is not contagious, but some viral infections that may contribute to the disease are contagious.

For many people, facial nerve paralysis is a temporary disease, but in rare cases, some people may continue to experience symptoms for the rest of their lives.

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