[Skip to Navigation]
August 1965

Bell's Palsy: A Plea to General Practitioners

Author Affiliations

From the Washington University School of Medicine.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;82(2):133-135. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00760010135011

IN ALMOST all articles dealing with facial paralysis the statement is made that spontaneous recovery occurs in 80% to 85% of patients with Bell's palsy. If by "recovery" is meant complete restoration of function, this rate is far too high and gives a false sense of security to the physician first consulted. Incomplete recovery possibly does occur in 80% of patients with Bell's palsy. Incomplete recovery is however, unfortunate in a man but tragic in a pretty girl.

It seems appropriate, therefore, to review what is known about the prognosis and treatment of Bell's palsy in order to avoid the permanent morbidity which results in at least 15% to 20% of patients.

Diagnosis  The patient who presents himself with facial paralysis deserves a very complete physical examination. Bell's palsy is defined as a unilateral paralysis of sudden onset, with no evidence of trauma or of otitic or central nervous system

Add or change institution