Alternate Names : Facial palsy, Idiopathic peripheral facial palsy
Bell’s palsy is a temporary form of facial paralysis that occurs with damage to the nerve that controls movement of the muscles in the face.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Bell’s palsy is a form of cranial mononeuropathy VII. It is the most common type of this nerve damage. Bell’s palsy affects about 2 in 10,000 people.
Bell’s palsy involves damage to the seventh cranial (facial) nerve. This nerve controls the movement of the muscles of the face. The cause is often not clear, although herpes infections may be involved.
Bell’s palsy is thought to be linked to swelling (inflammation) of the nerve in the area where it travels through the bones of the skull. Other conditions related to Bell’s palsy include:
- Lyme disease
Pictures & Images
Drooping of the eyelid is called ptosis. Ptosis may result from damage to the nerve that controls the muscles of the eyelid, problems with the muscle strength (as in myasthenia gravis), or from swelling of the lid.
Facial drooping can be caused by a disorder such as Bell’s palsy. This disorder is a mononeuropathy (involvement of a single nerve) that damages the seventh cranial (facial) nerve. The facial nerve controls movement of the muscles of the face.
Review Date : 2/1/2009
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.