Facial nerve palsy is a nervous system disorder in which a damaged nerve in the skull affects the movement of the muscles of the face.
It is a form of cranial mononeuropathy VII.
Facial nerve palsy occurs when there is damage to the seventh cranial (facial) nerve. It is a type of mononeuropathy. The seventh facial nerve is located in the skull. It controls movement of the muscles of the face. It also affects feeling in the ear canal and the sense of taste.
This type of nerve damage may occur with local growths, such as a tumor, that put pressure on the facial nerve.
Facial nerve palsy may also be caused by:
It also may have no obvious cause.
An examination will show facial drooping on one side of the face or just on the forehead, eyelid, or mouth. Examination of the eardrum may show fluid-filled sacs (vesicles).
A blood test may be done to check for Lyme disease. Other tests may include:
Finding and treating the cause (if it can be found) may relieve symptoms in some cases. The disorder may disappear on its own depending on the severity of nerve damage.
Powerful anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids) may be used if the condition is caught early enough. The drugs may be used in combination with an antiviral drug called acyclovir.
Your doctor may recommend lubricating eye drops or eye ointments to protect the eye if it doesn't close completely. You may need to wear a patch over the eye while you sleep.
Your health care provider may recommend surgery to remove any tumors that are pressing on the facial nerve.
The outlook varies. Some patients recover completely, while others permanently lose movement of the face.
Call your health care provider if your face droops or you have other symptoms of facial nerve palsy.
Quickly treating tumors or other growths that press down on the facial nerve may reduce the risk of facial nerve palsy in some cases.
Neuropathy - facial; Cranial mononeuropathy VII; Seventh cranial nerve palsy