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Immediate Postoperative Bell's Palsy: Viral Etiology or Post-Traumatic Phenomena?

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Author(s): Mohammad Ghasem Shams | Mohammad Hosein Kalantar Motamedi | Ahmad Sadidi

Journal: Dental Hypotheses
ISSN 2155-8213

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 106;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Bell’s palsy | Herpes virus | Trauma | Facial nerve.

ABSTRACT
Introduction: Bell’s palsy is a sudden unilateral paralysis of the facial nerve. Postoperative Bell’s palsy following surgery is rare. It occurs in less than 1% of operations. The hypothesis: We premise that the main cause of immediate postoperative Bell's palsy is latent herpes viruses (herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes zoster virus), which are reactivated from cranial nerve ganglia. Inflammation of the nerve initially results in a reversible neurapraxia, but ultimately Wallerian degeneration ensues. The palsy is often sudden in onset and evolves rapidly, with maximal facial weakness developing within two days. Associated symptoms of-ten seen in idiopathic Bell’s palsy are tearing problems, hyperacusis and altered taste.Evaluation of the hypothesis: Facial paralysis presenting postoperatively is distressing and poses a diagnostic chal-lenge. A complete interruption of the facial nerve at the sty-lomastoid foramen paralyzes all the muscles of facial expression. Taste sensation may be lost unilaterally and hye-racusis may be present. Idiopathic Bell’s palsy is due to inflammation of the facial nerve in the facial canal. Bell’s palsy may also occur from lesions that invade the temporal bone (carotid body, cholesteatoma, dermoid cyst, acoustic neu-romas). Although traumatic Bell’s palsy cannot be ruled out, it seems logic to postulate that the main cause of immediate postoperative Bell's palsy is latent herpes viruses.
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