The term "Bell's palsy" is commonly used to indicate the idiopathic type of facial paralysis. Of late, there seems to be general agreement that this disorder is the result of vasospasm of the nutrient vessels of the nerve with the usual effect of anoxia, that is, increased permeability of the vessel wall with consequent accumulation of interstitial fluid, thus, edema. Because the facial nerve is enclosed in a rigid bony canal the socalled tunnel syndrome is produced with its vicious circle of vasospasm, anoxia, edema, and pressure on vessels with further anoxia.
Audibert, Mattei, and Paganelli1 appear to have been the first to present this hypothesis. They considered that the only reasonable explanation of Bell's palsy is dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which produces spasm, thrombosis, or embolism in the vessels supplying blood to the facial nerve. They felt that the facial nerve is particularly susceptible to vasomotor
WILLIAMS HL. Bell's Palsy. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1959;70(4):436–443. doi:10.1001/archotol.1959.00730040446004
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: