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Bell’s palsy is a dysfunction of the facial nerve as it lies within the facial canal. It is usually unilateral. The site of the dysfunction will determine the aspects of facial nerve function that do not work. It is a situation in which the muscles on one side of your face become feeble or paralyzed. This makes half of your face appear to droop.

Cause: The cause is not known, it sometimes follows exposure of the face to a cold draft. The swelling of the nerve within the bony canal causes pressure on the nerve fibers. It’s caused by some kind of trauma to the seventh cranial nerve.

Viruses also have been linked to Bell’s palsy include the virus that causes:

  • Cold sores (herpes simplex)
  • Chickenpox (herpes zoster)
  • Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr)
  • Cytomegalovirus infections
  • Respiratory illnesses (adenovirus)
  • German measles (rubella)
  • Mumps (mumps virus)
  • Flu (influenza B).

Bell’s Palsy 1

Fig: Bell’s Palsy Symptoms


Signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy come on suddenly and may include:

  • Paralysis or weakness on one side of the face,
  • Rapid onset of mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of your face,
  • Drooling,
  • Numbness,
  • Pain around the jaw or ear,
  • A headache,
  • Face feels heavy
  • Eye can’t fully close
  • A decrease in your ability to taste and foods taste slightly different.

Manifestations: It causes temporary loss of function of the nerve producing lower motor neuron type of facial paralysis. It is a temporary weakness or lack of movement affecting one side of the face. Most people get better within 9 months.

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