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January 1981

Surgery for Bell's Palsy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1981;107(1):1-11. doi:10.1001/archotol.1981.00790370003001

• Electroneuronographic study of the spontaneous course of Bell's palsy shows that chance of a satisfactory spontaneous return of facial function is reduced to 50% when 95% or more maximal degeneration is reached within two weeks of onset. For this reason immediate surgical decompression (including the meatal foramen) was performed on 14 patients with 90% or more degeneration within three weeks of palsy onset. These patients and 13 who refused treatment under similar conditions were reviewed one to three years later by three physicians familiar with facial nerve problems. Results show that to obtain satisfactory (80% to 100%) return of facial movements in all cases of Bell's palsy, surgical decompression should be performed within 24 hours when degeneration reaches 90% to 94% within one to 21 days after onset. By using these guidelines, the number of unnecessary operations will be kept under 16%.

(Arch Otolaryngol 107:1-11, 1981)

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