Bell’s Palsy is thought to be due to viral inflammation around the facial nerve as it travels within the base of the skull. It is the most common cause of facial paralysis.
Treatment of Bell’s palsy involves taking a brief course of oral steroids and may include an oral antiviral medication as well. Typically, patients who are promptly treated for Bell’s palsy recover full facial movement.
After recovery from Bell’s Palsy, some patients may notice facial muscle spasms or facial discomfort. This may be a sign of synkinesis (see below) and is treatable.
Certain patients with severe Bell’s palsy may benefit from facial nerve decompression surgery. The need for this surgery is determined by electrodiagnostic testing provided at the USC Facial Nerve Center.