Facial droop is one possible symptom of a condition known as facial paralysis or palsy. Facial paralysis is itself a result of damage to the facial nerve or muscles. The muscles in the face which control facial expression are innervated by the facial nerves. There are two facial nerves which act independently to innervate muscles on each side of the face.
When facial droop presents, this is indicative of weakness or injury to the facial nerve or muscles. There are many potential causes for this including:
- Inflammation of the facial nerve
- Infection of the nerve
- Trauma – head injury, birth trauma
- Head or neck tumor
- Autoimmune disorders
The most common cause of facial paralysis is Bell’s Palsy, an inflammation of the facial nerve usually brought on by viral reactivation (herpes simplex virus). In cases where Bell’s Palsy is the cause of facial droop, you would expect to see sudden onset of symptoms, within 24-36 hours. Recovery may take weeks to months. Fortunately, most patients recover fully.
Another condition that may present with facial droop as a symptom is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. This may be accompanied by a reddish painful rash in or around the ear, tinnitus (ringing in ear), loss of hearing, vertigo and impaired sense of taste.
Patient history and diagnostic testing are necessary to isolate the specific cause of facial droop from other potential causes such as tumors, Lyme disease, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, diabetes or Sarcoidosis.
Facial Droop Treatment
As facial droop is only symptomatic of an underlying condition that is causing it, treatment therefore should be directed toward that underlying cause.
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for you or a family member with one of our specialists.