Understanding Bell's Palsy
Bell's palsy is usually an acute condition that causes temporary paralysis on one side of the face. The paralysis to the nerve that controlss the affected muscles is typically caused by a viral infection, although a precise cause for the onset of Bell's palsy is somewhat unclear. Most cases are temporary, with symptoms gradually improving over a course of up to six months. Although most cases resolve over time, with the facial muscles eventually regaining normal movement, some cases can reoccur.
Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors of Bell's Palsy
Many cases of Bell's palsy are linked to a viral infection. Some of the most common viruses that can contribute to facial paralysis include:
- Adenovirus (respiratory infection)
- Rubella (German measles)
- Influenza (flu)
- Coxsackievirus (hand foot and mouth disease)
- Herpes simplex (cold sores and genital sores)
- Herpes zoster (chicken pox and shingles)
- Epstein Barr (mononucleosis)
- Cytomegalovirus infections
Bell's Palsy Diagnosis and ENT Treatment in Oxnard, CA
The head and neck surgeons at West Coast Ear Nose Throat in Oxnard offer diagnosis and treatment for Bell's palsy and facial nerve disorders. Because Bell's palsy results from inflammation to the facial nerve that runs through the temporal bone in the ear, diagnosing the condition often involves a range of tests, including:
- Hearing and balance testing
- Tear test (facial paralysis can also compromise tear flow and production)
- Diagnostic imaging with CT scan and MRI to check for tumors, infections, or bone fractures)
- Electrical stimulation to the facial nerve to assess extent of paralysis and damage
Treatment for Bell's palsy and facial paralysis depends on the underlying source of nerve damage and irritation. Infections are generally treated with medication, or steroidal agents for inflammation. In some cases decompression surgery is used to ease swelling on the nerve from the surrounding bone.
Find an ENT Specialist in Oxnard
Facial paralysis can affect people of all ages. For more information on treatment and recovery, contact an ENT doctor at West Coast Ear Nose Throat by calling (805) 379-9646 to schedule an appointment today.