Flaccid paralysis is a neurological condition characterized by the weakness of the facial nerve that results in complete lack of movement in the face. Several conditions can cause damage to the facial nerve, and they can result in flaccid paralysis. Common symptoms of this facial paralysis include reduced muscle tone, an inability to contract the facial muscles (e.g., inability to close the eye or lift the corner of the mouth), inability to raise the eyebrow, inability to smile, speech impairment, as well as difficulty eating or drinking. Any of these symptoms need to be evaluated immediately to find out the cause behind it.
There are a number of conditions that can result in flaccid paralysis. These conditions include:
- Bell’s Palsy from infectious causes such as Herpes Simplex or Varicella Zoster virus. An infection of the nerve is the most common cause of flaccid paralysis. Approximately 70% of those with Bell’s Palsy will experience a full recovery.
- Congenital Facial Nerve Disorders, such as Mobius syndrome, can cause flaccid paralysis. Where there is an absence of the facial nerve and related craniofacial anomalies where muscles may not be present can result in flaccid paralysis.
- Trauma to the facial nerve via injury can cause partial or complete facial paralysis.
- Stroke is highly associated with the symptom of facial paralysis.
- Autoimmune disease, which affects the facial nerve or causes the body to be susceptible to infection, can lead to flaccid paralysis.
- Surgical causes where the facial muscle or nerves were damaged can cause flaccid paralysis.
Dr. O leads the multidisciplinary team at New York Facial Paralysis to meet the specific needs of each patient. Treatment for flaccid paralysis is typically a combination of medical and surgical treatment combined with essential physical therapy. Depending on the patient’s history, other medical treatments may be prescribed.
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