Facial Paralysis Symptoms
Facial paralysis occurs when one or more facial nerves are damaged by disease or injury. Learn about the symptoms and treatment options available.
Facial paralysis is a condition that affects the muscles in the face. It can occur after an accident or illness, such as Bell’s palsy, which causes temporary weakness on one side of the face.
The Nerve System
The facial nerve system consists of two main branches: the trigeminal nerve (which controls the jaw) and the facial nerve (which controls the muscles of the face). These nerves originate in the brainstem and travel through the skull and neck before reaching the face.
Causes of Facial Paralysis
There are several possible causes of facial paralysis. In some cases, the cause is unknown. However, there are certain diseases and injuries that can damage the facial nerve and lead to facial paralysis.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
If you think you might have facial paralysis, contact your doctor immediately. A diagnosis can help determine whether surgery is needed.
The Nerves That Control Facial Movement
There are three main nerves that control facial movement: the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII), the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerves V and VI), and the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial cranial nerve VIII). These nerves originate in the brainstem and travel through the skull and neck before reaching the face.
If you notice any changes in your facial movements, such as drooping eyelids, difficulty chewing, or trouble smiling, contact your doctor immediately. A neurologist will perform an examination to determine whether there is damage to the facial nerves. Depending on the cause of the problem, your doctor might recommend surgery, medication, or other treatments.