Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Bell’s Palsy

  • Theslee Joy DePieroEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_444


Idiopathic facial paralysis


Bell’s palsy is the acute onset of paralysis of the muscles innervated by the facial nerve, not due to obvious causes such as trauma, stroke, or local infection.

Current Knowledge


The facial nerve innervates the muscles that control the forehead and eyebrow, close the eyelids, and move the cheeks and lips. It also supplies taste to the anterior two thirds of the tongue and innervates the stapedius muscle (a small muscle in the middle ear, connecting the tympanic membrane to the stapes, that dampens excessive vibration in the tympanic membrane due to loud noises).

Clinical Presentation

The onset of paralysis may be preceded by pain behind the ear for 1 or 2 days. The paralysis is complete in 2 days in half the patients and by 5 days in almost all the patients. If the stapedius muscle is involved, there may be sensitivity to noise. Taste is impaired in almost all patients. Clinically, the forehead is unfurrowed, the eye cannot close...

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References and Readings

  1. Gilden, D. (2004). Clinical practice. Bell’s palsy. New England Journal of Medicine, 351, 1323–1331.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Hazin, R., Azizzadeh, B., & Bhatti, M. (2009). Medical and surgical management of facial nerve palsy. Current Opinion in Opthalmology, 20(6), 440–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Braintree Rehabilitation HospitalBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA