Paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve supplying the face the muscles emotions can get involved in trauma, infection and sometimes idiopathic. Bell’s palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis. Generally, Bell’s palsy usually affects only one side of the face.
Symptoms of Bell’s palsy usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours. Symptoms vary from person to person and can range in severity from partial weakness to total paralysis. These symptoms include twitching, weakness, or paralysis, drooping eyelid or corner of the mouth, drooling, dry eye or mouth, impairment of taste, and excessive tearing in the eye. Bell\’s palsy often causes significant facial distortion.
Most common etiological factor is a viral – herpes simplex- which can cause the facial nerve to swell inside the bony fallopian canal.
Bell’s palsy can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in adults. People with diabetes and pregnant women are more likely to develop Bell’s palsy.
CT Scan/MRI imaging will rule out any other intracranial pathology presenting like Bells palsy. Some doctors may recommend an electromyography (EMG), which tests how well the muscles respond to nerve signals.
Steroids in adequate dose are to be started as soon as the patient comes to the clinic.
The steroid is used to reduce inflammation and swelling and is an effective treatment for Bell’s palsy.
Other drugs such as acyclovir used to fight viral herpes infections — may also have some benefit in shortening the course of the disease.
Anti inflammatory drugs and analgesics such as Diclofenac, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may relieve pain.
Eye ointment and Eye protection
Keeping the eye moist and protecting it from debris and injury, especially at night, is important. Eye ointment, an eye patch, protective glasses are given to make the patient feel more comfortable and to prevent damage to the cornea.
Physical therapy to stimulate the facial nerve and help maintain muscle tone may benefit some individual
Although it can seem frightening at first, most people with Bell’s palsy recover fully within 1 to 3 months. A few people are left with some permanent facial weakness after recovering from Bell’s.
Whom to see?
If you are the unfortunate victim of having Facial nerve paralysis, please don\’t wait; immediately go and see your nearest ENT specialist. He will examine you and make the prompt and immediate treatment without delay. Don\’t waist time, the more you wait, the longer it will take for complete recovery.