facial nerve (CN VII) paralysis.

Unilateral paralysis of the muscles of facial expression is termed
facial nerve (CN VII) paralysis. If the cause of the condition is
unknown, doctors refer to it as idiopathic (id΄ē-ō-path΄ik; idios =
one’s own; pathos = suffering) facial nerve paralysis, or Bell palsy.
CN VII paralysis has sometimes been associated with herpes
simplex 1 viral infection. Facial nerve paralysis is also associated
with exposure to cold temperatures, and is commonly seen in
individuals who sleep with one side of their head facing an open
window. Later stages of Lyme disease may develop bilateral facial
nerve paralysis. Whatever the underlying cause of the disease,
the nerve becomes inflamed and compressed within the narrow
stylomastoid foramen, through which the facial nerve travels. The
muscles on the same side of the face are paralyzed as a result.
Treatment of facial nerve paralysis usually means alleviating
the symptoms. Doctors often use prednisone (a type of steroid)
to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the nerve. If herpes
simplex infection is suspected, an antiviral medication called
acyclovir (Zovirax) is also given. Facial nerve paralysis caused by
Lyme disease is treated
with antibiotics (so as to
treat the Lyme disease).
Like its underlying
cause, recovery from idiopathic facial nerve paralysis
is equally mysterious. Over
50% of all patients experience a complete, spontaneous recovery within
30 days of their first symptoms. Recovery may take
longer for some, whereas
other patients may never

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