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Bell pal·sy(bel pawl'zē)
Synonym(s): peripheral facial paralysis.
Paralysis of the facial nerve typically results in an asymmetrical facial appearance. The affected patient is unable to raise one side of the mouth to smile or to wrinkle or raise the eyebrow on the same side. This peripheral nerve dysfunction is distinguished from strokes that alter facial movement by the involvement of both the forehead and the mouth. Paralysis of the face caused by strokes usually only limits movement of the oral muscles. See: illustration
Tapering doses of prednisone without antiviral drugs provide the most effective results. In addition, the affected eye should be protected from drying with artificial tears or unmedicated ointments. Some practitioners advise wearing sunglasses during the palsy or patching the eye to protect it from foreign bodies or drying.
Partial facial paralysis is usually resolved within several months. The likelihood of complete recovery after total paralysis varies from 20% to 90%.