Article: Volume 46 Number 6 Page 565 - June 2019

  Dent Update 2019; 46: 565-572  Read article

Oral surgery:  Facial Palsy: Aetiology, Diagnosis and Management

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Abstract: Facial nerve palsy is the most frequently occurring cranial neuropathy reported to affect 1 in 60 people during their lifetime. An important step in examining these patients, is establishing whether the palsy is caused by an upper or lower motor neurone. Of the many potential aetiologies, Bell’s palsy is the most frequently occurring lower motor neurone lesion. The prognosis for this is good, with approximately 85% of patients making a full recovery within three weeks. The aims of this article are to review the appropriate anatomy, potential causes of facial nerve palsy and describe a recommended assessment and management strategy for these patients.

Clinical relevance: To inform readers of the variety of causes of facial nerve palsy and present the evidence-based management.

Author notes: Sarah McKernon, BDS, MFDS RCS(Ed), FHEA, MOralSurg, Clinical Lecturer/Specialist in Oral Surgery, University of Liverpool School of Dentistry (email:, Ayisha Davies House, BDS, MJDF RCS(Eng), PGCE, StR Oral Surgery, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Colette Balmer, BSc(Hons), BChD, FDS RCS(Edin), FDS RCS(Eng), PCTLCP, MAClinEd, FHEA, FDTFEd, Consultant in Oral Surgery/Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Liverpool School of Dentistry, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5PS, UK.

Objective: To understand the clinical implications of the differing presentations of facial palsy and their significance.


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