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April 30, 1955


Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1955;157(18):1599-1601. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950350013006

Idiopathic facial paralysis was first described by Sir Charles Bell in 1821.1 Bell's original series of cases, however, was not made up exclusively of the idiopathic type of paralysis. Bell's palsy, or idiopathic facial paralysis, is understood to be a paralysis of sudden, usually unexplained, onset with or without pain. The involved side of the face is immobile, smooth, and expressionless. The duration of the disease varies from two weeks to six months, depending on the extent of damage that has occurred in the seventh nerve. The prospect for complete recovery is good in 80 to 90% of cases.

ETIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY  Park and Watkins2 in a study of 517 cases of facial paralysis from all causes at the Massachusetts General Hospital found that 87.2% were of the idiopathic type. The condition was more frequent in women than in men by a ratio of 9 to 7. The

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