Bell's Palsy

Bell's palsy is a paralysis of cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) resulting in inability to control facial muscles on the affected side.

It is thought that an inflammatory condition leads to swelling of the facial nerve. The nerve travels through the skull in a narrow bone canal beneath the ear. Nerve swelling and compression in the narrow bone canal are thought to lead to nerve inhibition, damage or death. No readily identifiable cause for Bell's palsy has been found. However, clinical and experimental evidence suggests herpes simplex type 1 infection may play a role.

Bell's Palsy Conditions

Several conditions can cause a facial paralysis, e.g., stroke, brain tumor, and Lyme disease, but if no specific cause can be identified, the condition is known as Bell's Palsy. Bell's Palsy was named after Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who first described it, Bell's palsy is the most common acute mononeuropathy (disease involving only one nerve), and is the most common cause of acute facial nerve paralysis.

Definition of Bell's Palsy

Bell's palsy is defined as an idiopathic unilateral facial nerve paralysis, usually self-limiting. The trademark is rapid onset of partial or complete palsy, usually in a single day.

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