Reviews

When is facial paralysis Bell palsy? Current diagnosis and treatment

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ABSTRACTBell palsy is largely a diagnosis of exclusion, but certain features in the history and physical examination help distinguish it from facial paralysis due to other conditions: eg, abrupt onset with complete, unilateral facial weakness at 24 to 72 hours, and, on the affected side, numbness or pain around the ear, a reduction in taste, and hypersensitivity to sounds. Corticosteroids and antivirals given within 10 days of onset have been shown to help. But Bell palsy resolves spontaneously without treatment in most patients within 6 months.


 

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