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Medical Dictionary

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Facial nerve paralysis

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Facial nerve paralysis Loss of voluntary movement of the muscles of one side of the face due to abnormal function of the facial nerve. Paralysis of the facial nerve causes a characteristic drooping of one side of the face, inability to wrinkle the forehead, inability to whistle, inability to close an eye, and deviation of the mouth toward the other side of the face. Numerous conditions can cause facial nerve paralysis including infections, inherited diseases, tumors, toxins, and trauma. Bell's palsy is the development of facial nerve paralysis without an identifiable cause. The disease causes paralysis of the muscles of the side of the face on which the facial nerve is affected. One goal of treatment is to protect the eye on the affected side from dryness. Sometimes corticosteroid medication is given to reduce inflammation during the first weeks of illness. Surgical decompression to reduce swelling and pressure on the affcted nerve may also be performed.
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