The term facial palsy generally refers to weakness of the facial muscles, mainly resulting from temporary or permanent damage to the facial nerve. When a facial nerve is either non-functioning or missing, the muscles in the face do not receive the necessary signals in order to function properly. There are different degrees of facial paralysis: sometimes only the lower half of the face is affected, sometimes one whole side of the face is affected and in some cases both sides of the face are affected.
Figure A: Facial nerve anatomy. The facial nerve is responsible for facial expression. The facial nerve begins in the brainstem, then takes a course through the temporal bone of the skull, before dividing into multiple branches within the face.
An inability to move the muscles of the face on one or both sides is known as facial paralysis. The problem can affect one or both sides of the face, with noticeable drooping of the features and problems with speaking, blinking, swallowing saliva, eating or communicating through natural facial expressions. Paralysis of the face may be temporary or permanent.
Facial nerve paralysis is a common problem that involves the paralysis of any structures innervated by the facial nerve. The pathway of the facial nerve is long and relatively convoluted, so there are a number of causes that may result in facial nerve paralysis. Facial nerve paralysis is characterised by facial weakness, usually only in one side of the face, with other symptoms possibly including loss of tastehyperacusis and decreased salivation and tear secretion. Other signs may be linked to the cause of the paralysis, such as vesicles in the ear, which may occur if the facial palsy is due to shingles.
Facial paralysis occurs when a person is no longer able to move some or all of the muscles of the face. These muscles are responsible for vital functions such as eating, speaking, closing the eyes and expressing emotions. Facial paralysis may be caused by stroketrauma, tumors that press on the facial nerve, diseases that affect the facial muscles or infections that may cause temporary or permanent nerve dysfunction.
Facial paralysis occurs when a person is no longer able to move some or all of the muscles on one or both sides of the face. Drooping of the eyelid is called ptosis. Ptosis may result from damage to the nerve that controls the muscles of the eyelid, problems with the muscle strength as in myasthenia gravisor from swelling of the lid.
The nerve that controls your facial muscles passes through a narrow corridor of bone on its way to your face. Facial weakness or paralysis may cause one corner of your mouth to droop, and you may have trouble retaining saliva on that side of your mouth. The condition may also make it difficult to close the eye on the affected side of your face. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
Facial paralysis is a loss of facial movement due to nerve damage. Your facial muscles may appear to droop or become weak. It can happen on one or both sides of the face.