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Bell's Palsy

What is Bell's Palsy?

  • Named after Surgeon Sir Charles Bell's and also known as facial palsy, Bell's palsy is the sudden weakness of one side of the face.
  • It is often temporary and is attributed to the inflammation of the facial nerve that controls the muscles on the weakened side of the face.

What Causes Bell's Palsy?

The direct cause is not usually known, but Bell's palsy is often preceded by symptoms of a viral syndrome.

Other commonly mentioned triggers include: 

There is a strong correlation with the herpes simplex virus, the same virus that causes cold sores or fever blisters on the lip. There has also been an association found with shingles and its associated blistering (from the herpes zoster virus). Bell's palsy has been associated with Lyme disease where it is common. The facial muscle is the most commonly paralyzed nerve of the body.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/29/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

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Bell's Palsy - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with Bell's palsy?

Bell's Palsy Prognosis

The prognosis for individuals with Bell's palsy is generally very good. The extent of nerve damage determines the extent of recovery. Improvement is gradual and recovery times vary. With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and most recover completely, returning to normal function within 3 to 6 months. For some, however, the symptoms may last longer. In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear. In rare cases, the disorder may recur, either on the same or the opposite side of the face.

NIH National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bell Palsy »

Bell palsy, more appropriately known as idiopathic facial paralysis (IFP), is believed to be a virally mediated cranial neuritis affecting the facial nerve due to reactivation of the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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