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Facial Paralysis

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Definition

Facial paralysis is condition characterized by weakness or paralysis of one side of the face by complete or partial loss of voluntary muscle movement. The paralysis occurs due to damage to the facial nerve.

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Causes

  • Virus e.g.Bell's palsy
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Infection
  • Birth trauma (newborns)

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Symptoms

  • Facial distortion
  • Drooping of mouth
  • Drooling
  • Excessive tearing from one eye
  • Loss of taste on the affected side
  • Voice production may be louder on the affected side
  • Eye on the affected side cannot be closed
  • Forehead on the affected side cannot be wrinkled
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Hearing Loss

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Implications

Severe damage to the facial nerve may result in permanent and irreversible paralysis of facial muscles. The cornea of the eye on the affected side may become cloudy and opacified and progress to complete or partial loss of vision in one eye. The nerve fibres may regrow but in the wrong direction causing involuntary contraction of certain muscles while you are trying to move others (synkinesis).

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What You Can Do

  • Medications
    • Antiviral medications like acyclovir (Zovirax) and famciclovir (Famvir), may prove to be beneficial in limiting the nerve damage.
    • Steroid medications may reduce the inflammation and swelling.
    • Prescription eye drops, gel or artificial tears may be used to protect the cornea from drying.

  • Rehabilitation Therapy
    • Physiotherapy to regain the muscle strength and improve movement of facial muscles.
    • Speech therapy
    • Massage the face gently to improve circulation and prevent contractures of facial muscles

  • Plastic Surgery
    • For severe facial deformity and and eye problems due to incomplete closure of the eye, plastic surgery may be recommended.

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Facial Paralysis