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(212) 434-4050 (212) 371-3223 (FACE)
A concerned woman touching her right cheek.

Lyme Disease and Facial Paralysis may not be in the top five when it comes to prevalence of Lyme disease cases, but this disease is still cause for concern. Thousands of New Yorkers are diagnosed with this condition every year. It may be hard to believe, but a tick bite can cause facial paralysis.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. Ticks can transmit the infection if they are infected and bite you. The disease can be challenging to diagnose, but if you hike in wooded or grassy areas and have been bitten by a tick, it is good to get checked.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

One of the hallmarks of Lyme disease is a rash in a target-shape. The rash may develop within days of being bitten. It may also move around the body. It is not uncommon for the rash to go unnoticed, and some individuals may not develop a rash at all. Other symptoms of the disease include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle aches
  • Arthritis (in later stages)
  • Facial weakness

Symptoms of Lymes may begin a few days after being bitten or it may take weeks before any symptoms appear. Symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient.

Lyme Disease-associated Facial Palsy

This condition will affect about five percent of patients diagnosed with Lyme disease. One or both sides of the face may be affected. The condition causes the facial muscles to droop. This facial palsy usually manifests 7-21 days after an individual has been infected.

Lyme disease-associated facial palsy can look very similar to Bell’s palsy. Both appear suddenly, but they are different. Patients diagnosed with the former may not respond as favorably to the same treatment regimen as patients with Bell’s Palsy.

Patients with Lyme disease also experience other symptoms associated with the condition while those with Bell’s palsy do not have other symptoms and usually feel fine. Also, individuals with Lyme disease can have facial paralysis on both sides of the face, and Bell’s palsy only affects one side.

Both Lyme disease-associated facial palsy and Bell’s palsy can recover facial tone and movement. Some long-term side effects may remain. These can include involuntary eye closure, restricted smile excursion or facial muscle tightness.

Patients diagnosed with Lyme disease may see recovery beginning within a few weeks, although some patients do not see any progress for three or four months. Full recovery may not be achieved for about 18 months.

The team of doctors at New York Facial Paralysis provides information and excellent care for those suffering with facial paralysis. Our cutting-edge treatment ensures patients of the best possible results. Contact us for proper diagnosis and treatment if you experience facial paralysis.

Posted on behalf of New York Facial Paralysis

Grand Park Building, 110 East 40 Street, Suite 501
New York, NY 10016

Phone: (212) 434-4050

FAX: (212) 434-4059


Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM



New York Facial Paralysis

At Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital

Grand Park Building, 110 East 40 Street, Suite 501
New York, NY 10016

(212) 434-4050 (212) 371-3223 (FACE)

Opening Times: Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

If you are interested in discussing your case with the NYFP specialists: