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August 1988

Histopathology of Bell's Palsy

Author Affiliations

Burlington, Mass

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(8):833. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860200015003

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Dr Steven Liston of the University of Minnesota at St Paul, and Dr M. Steven Kleid, Melbourne, Australia, described the postmortem histopathologic findings of a patient with Bell's palsy at the Eastern Section meeting of the Triological Society in New York. This patient had developed facial palsy five days prior to death caused by an aortic aneurysm. The facial nerve was edematous due to an inflammatory infiltrate with round cells and axonal changes with myelin breakdown. Ganglion cells were preserved and perineurium was normal. These findings occurred throughout the infratemporal length of the facial nerve. Of interest was a change in the staining characteristics of the nerve in the region of the labyrinthine segment, which is the same area that Fisch and Esslen (Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1972;95:335-341) hypothesized as the locus of the conduction block in Bell's palsy. Although no distinct histochemical tests were performed, the authors suggest

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