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Clinical Challenges in Otolaryngology
July 1998

Treatment Controversies in Bell Palsy

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124(7):821-823. doi:10.1001/archotol.124.7.821

Treatment of acute-onset complete unilateral facial paralysis optimally includes the use of systemic corticosteroids and antiviral therapy.

The most common causes of unilateral complete facial paralysis include Bell palsy, trauma, and herpes zoster oticus (Ramsay Hunt syndrome).1 Bell palsy is defined as facial paralysis of unknown origin; thus, it is a diagnosis of exclusion. Other diseases, such as central nervous system disorders (acute idiopathic polyneuritis, Lyme disease, or multiple sclerosis), neoplasms (of the cerebellopontine, parotid gland, or facial nerve), and infections (acute and chronic otitis media) must also be considered as causes of facial paralysis.

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