Clinical Criteria for Bell’s Palsy (Idiopathic Facial Nerve Paralysis)

Bell’s palsy is a peripheral palsy of the facial nerve that results in muscle weakness on one side of the face.

The diagnosis of Bell’s palsy is based upon the following criteria:

  • There is a diffuse facial nerve involvement manifested by paralysis of the facial muscles, with or without loss of taste on the anterior two-thirds of the tongue or altered secretion of the lacrimal and salivary glands.
  • Onset is acute, over a day or two; the course is progressive, reaching maximal clinical weakness/paralysis within three weeks or less from the first day of visible weakness; and recovery or some degree of function is present within six months.
  • Associated prodrome, ear pain, dysacusis, is variable.

 

 

References:

  1. Tiemstra JD, Khatkhate N. Bell’s palsy: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Oct 1;76(7):997-1002. [Medline]
  2. Gilden DH. Clinical practice. Bell’s Palsy. N Engl J Med. 2004 Sep 23;351(13):1323-31. [Medline]

Created: Sep 08, 2009

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