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Home > Medical Services > Ear, Nose & Throat > Ear Care > Ear Disorders > Facial Paralysis, Bell's Palsy, Ramsey Hunt
Bell’s Palsy is a paralysis of the facial nerve, characterized by sudden onset of weakness in facial movement on one side of the face. In many individuals, it progresses to its worst stage within seven days.
Symptoms include dryness in the eye, mild asymmetry of the smile, pain or numbness of the head and neck and headache. As symptoms worsen, some may experience complete paralysis of the affected side of the face.
Evidence suggests that Bell’s Palsy may be caused by a virus – Herpes Simplex Virus – activated in the facial nerve. It is critical that patients with sudden facial nerve weakness be evaluated promptly by a physician like Dr. Benson, who specializes in the care of Bell’s Palsy patients. When treated correctly, those affected with Bell’s Palsy may expect to regain normal or near normal function within weeks or months after onset.
There are many other causes of facial paralysis or weakness, including infections, benign tumors, malignant tumors, stroke or multiple sclerosis. Treatment options include steroids and antiviral therapies. However, patients with more advanced symptoms may require facial nerve decompression, a surgical intervention.