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May 1965

Electrodiagnosis in Facial Palsy

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;81(5):470-477. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00750050483006

SPONTANEOUS paralysis of the muscles of expression of one side of the face (Bell's palsy) is a common neurological condition. Its cause is unknown and more than half the patients suffer a simple block of conduction from which they recover completely. The remainder develop some degree of denervation of the facial musculature and never recover completely. Once denervation has occurred "associated movement," especially on blinking, always develops (Taverner, 1955). Nevertheless only a small proportion of sufferers from Bell's palsy are eventually dissatisfied with the degree of recovery they attain. Troublesome sequelae, such as severe associated movements, marked contracture, and crocodile tears, only appear in those patients in whom total denervation of the facial muscles occurs.

The early detection of denervation is therefore an essential prelude to the successful management of patients with peripheral facial paralysis, and various methods have been tried. The detection of fibrillation activity by needle electromyography has