Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Facial nerve disorders can cause weakness or paralysis on one or both sides of the face. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is caused by a virus in the facial nerve. An infection of the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve from the herpes zoster virus causes this serious condition. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a more severe cause of facial paralysis, and it requires exceptional patient care.

The herpes zoster virus is the same virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome results when this painful rash presents in the ear, affecting the facial nerve. Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome include:

  • Painful, reddish, blistering rash in and around the ear
  • Facial weakness on the affected side
  • Facial paralysis on the affected side
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of, or change in, sense of taste

Specific and prompt treatment for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome should begin immediately to reduce the possibility of permanent hearing loss, facial paralysis, and vision loss.

At New York Facial Paralysis, we utilize a combination of antiviral drugs and pain medication. Inflammation may be reduced with steroids. Each patient will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine the exact course of treatment. The vaccine Zostavax has been effective in preventing reactivation of the chicken pox virus, and children who have not yet contracted the chicken pox virus can be given the Varicella vaccine to reduce the chance of getting the virus.

Additional precautions are necessary for eye protection where facial muscle weakness is present. It is essential to prevent corneal damage in order to help prevent infection and sight loss.

Contact  New York Facial Paralysis today to schedule your appointment.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Teresa O, New York Facial Paralysis Center

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