Facial Palsy Causes

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What are the causes of Facial Palsy?

Facial palsy can be caused by a number of different things some of which are listed here:

Viral infection is a common cause of a facial palsy known as Bells Palsy.

Stroke can cause facial palsy as a result of damage in the brain itself. This is slightly different to other causes, which directly affect the nerve after it leaves the brain.

Bacterial causes (e.g. Lyme Disease or following a middle ear infection).

Traumatic injury such as brain injury, skull fracture or facial trauma, as might be suffered in an accident.

The Varicella Zoster virus can cause a more aggressive form of facial palsy known as Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. This is the same virus which causes Chicken Pox and Shingles.

Neurological conditions (e.g.Guillain-Barre syndrome or Neurofibromatosis).

Surgery to the parotid gland. The facial nerve runs through this salivary gland and so can be damaged during surgery.

Congenital facial palsy refers to an abnormality of the facial nerve that you are born with.

Surgery to remove a facial nerve tumour or acoustic nerve tumour can cause facial palsy. The acoustic nerve lies very close to the facial nerve so in the process of removing these tumours the facial nerve can become damaged.

Viral infection is a common cause of a facial palsy known as Bells Palsy.

Stroke can cause facial palsy as a result of damage in the brain itself. This is slightly different to other causes, which directly affect the nerve after it leaves the brain.

Bacterial causes (e.g. Lyme Disease or following a middle ear infection).

Traumatic injury such as brain injury, skull fracture or facial trauma, as might be suffered in an accident.

The Varicella Zoster virus can cause a more aggressive form of facial palsy known as Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. This is the same virus which causes Chicken Pox and Shingles.

Neurological conditions (e.g.Guillain-Barre syndrome or Neurofibromatosis).

Surgery to the parotid gland. The facial nerve runs through this salivary gland and so can be damaged during surgery.

Congenital facial palsy refers to an abnormality of the facial nerve that you are born with.

Surgery to remove a facial nerve tumour or acoustic nerve tumour can cause facial palsy. The acoustic nerve lies very close to the facial nerve so in the process of removing these tumours the facial nerve can become damaged.

The incidence of Bells palsy (the most common type of facial palsy) is believed to be approximately 1 in 5000 with the incidence of all facial palsies closer to 1 in 3000. (30 cases per 100,000 per year). Approximately 70% of Bells palsy patients will have complete recoveries in a short time with the likelihood of a full recovery increasing if patients have been given steroids within the first 72 hours of developing facial palsy. Patients with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome should receive both steroids and antiviral medication.