facial nerve palsy
- a facial nerve palsy is paralysis of the facial nerve.
- the facial nerve is the motor supply to the scalp, facial muscles and stapedius. It also supplies taste in the anterior 2/3 of the tongue via the chorda tympani branch.
- the course of the facial nerve through the posterior fossa, temporal bone, and parotid gland makes it vulnerable to many neoplastic, traumatic, and infectious events (1)
- a peripheral facial paralysis requires a complete head and neck examination
including the following:
- cranial nerve evaluation. (1)
- the function of the facial nerve is tested as follows in the neurological
- the patient is asked to raise the eyebrows
- the brow is spared in a unilateral upper motor neurone lesion - for example a stroke affecting one half of the face will spare the brow
- if there is an upper motor neurone lesion affecting the facial nerve then the ability to wrinkle the brow is preserved; in Bell's palsy this ability is lost
- the patient is asked to screw up the eyes and resist attempts by the examiner to open the eyes
- facial movement:
- smiling, blowing out the cheeks, etc.
- (1) Facial Paralysis, Medical Content of Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,Baylor College of Medicine, ©2006
Last reviewed 07/2021