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Facial paralysis (Bell's palsy)

Definition/Causes: paralysis of one side of the face (unable to move the muscles of the face). There is no known cause and no pain occurs.

Possible course of treatment: the patient has to be put on oral cortisone as soon as possible.  An antiviral drug is often prescribed, but this last treatment is not helpful.  80+ percent of patients will start to move the face within 14 - 16 days with the cortisone treatment.  The patient is followed every other day with an evaluation of the health of the nerve by doing a nerve excitability test on the paralyzed nerve.  Rarely is surgery indicated.  Protection of the eye is most important during the problem.

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