Causes of Facial Paralysis

Facial Paralysis is considered a rare disorder. It can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, the most common of which are listed below. Click on the links for detailed information on each.

Viral causes

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Bell’s palsy
Herpes zoster oticus (Ramsay Hunt syndrome, shingles)


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  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Facial nerve neuroma
  • Meningioma
  • Salivary gland (parotid) tumor

Lyme disease

Traumatic injury

  • Skull fracture (temporal bone)
  • Facial lacerations

Guillain Barre’ Syndrome

Congenital (present since birth)

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Stages of recovery

The stages of recovery can be summarized as follow and will be detailed in the next section. The retraining techniques are different for each stage.

Flaccid Paralysis — The face is completely paralyzed with no movement present. The affected side may droop. The eye does not close.

Paresis — Small facial movements begin as the nerve heals and signals reconnect to the muscles. Movement can return so slowly it is often difficult to detect.

Synkinesis — Synkinesis is defined as uncoordinated, unsynchronized facial movements that occur during voluntary or spontaneous movements. Movements are present but abnormal movements occur. The facial muscles can become hyper-contracted, and the face may become tight and uncomfortable.