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Myths and Facts About Bell's Palsy

Bell’s palsy causes paralysis due to dysfunction of specific cranial nerves that control muscle action in your face. Symptoms range from mild to severe and are generally temporary.

Bell’s palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis, but its cause is not clearly understood. Board-certified plastic surgeon Elliott H. Rose, MD, of The Aesthetic Surgery Center in New York City has vast expertise in treating Bell’s palsy and any lasting effects.

Here are the facts he wants you to know about the condition.

Myth: Bell’s palsy is a neurological disorder, so it develops slowly

FACT: Bell’s palsy comes on suddenly and develops, typically, over the course of just a few hours. You’ll feel the normal facial movement on one side of your face change rapidly. The condition affects eye blinking, facial expressions, and tear and saliva production.

Myth: Bell’s palsy causes permanent damage

FACT: The effects of Bell’s palsy are usually temporary. Even severe cases of Bell’s palsy start to show improvement within a few weeks, even without treatment. You see all or some facial function restored within six months.

In the uncommon cases when Bell’s palsy leaves lasting effects, Dr. Rose offers a solution. He uses his vast plastic surgery expertise to correct a lingering downward droop of your brow, eyelid, nostril, lip, and/or cheek.

Myth: Bell’s palsy is a devastating diagnosis

FACT: Treatment and recovery from Bell’s palsy are possible. The National Institutes of Health notes that the prognosis for people with Bell’s palsy is generally very good.

About 85% of patients with Bell’s palsy experience improvements within three weeks, and most patients recover their normal facial function eventually. Even if you’re left with mild facial weakness or other lingering signs, Dr. Rose is available to restore your look so you can smile again with confidence.

Myth: I’m not at risk of developing Bell’s palsy

FACT: Bell’s palsy affects men and women of all ages, though the highest incident of cases occurs in people from 15-45 years of age. Certain risk factors do raise the chance that you might develop Bell’s palsy and include:

Though researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes Bell’s palsy, it may result from reactivation of a dormant viral infection. High stress, lack of sleep, and physical trauma or illness can also trigger facial paralysis.

Myth: Bell’s palsy is easily identifiable

FACT: Bell’s palsy can mimic other disorders that cause facial paralysis, like stroke. Usually, the condition affects just one side of the face. Symptoms include sudden weakness on one side of the face as well as drooling, drooping of the mouth, inability to close the eye, and excessive tearing in the eye on the affected side. You may also feel facial pain as a result of Bell’s palsy.

If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to get medical care and evaluation right away to rule out other possible causes.

If you develop Bell’s palsy and have lingering effects in your expression, seek the expertise of Dr. Rose here at The Aesthetic Surgery Center. He welcomes patients from around the world to our office on New York City’s Upper East Side. Call our office today or use the online tool to request a consultation.

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