Think Neuro

Think Neuro Mini: What is Bell’s Palsy with Dr. Amit Kochhar

Episode Summary

What is Bell's Palsy? Dr. Amit Kochhar talks about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Bell's Palsy. Bell’s palsy is a paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. The facial nerves control muscle activity so when damaged it can cause the face to droop. Fortunately, for the majority of patients, normal to near-normal facial nerve function can be restored within 1-2 months with medications alone, especially in those who can still partly move their facial muscles. Bell’s palsy-related facial paralysis is sudden, often occurring overnight. The diagnosis of Bell’s palsy is typically made after a thorough evaluation of the entire body that may include a laboratory workup and possibly neuroimaging (MRI). As Bell’s palsy is a diagnosis of exclusion, other causes of facial weakness such as stroke, brain tumor, trauma, etc., should be ruled out. When treated within 72 hours of onset, symptoms usually improve within a few weeks.