What is the pathophysiology of injury to the facial nerve in Bell palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis) (IFP)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Danette C Taylor, DO, MS, FACN; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Injury to the facial nerve in Bell palsy is peripheral to the nerve’s nucleus. The injury is thought to occur near, or at, the geniculate ganglion. If the lesion is proximal to the geniculate ganglion, the motor paralysis is accompanied by gustatory and autonomic abnormalities. Lesions between the geniculate ganglion and the origin of the chorda tympani produce the same effect, except that they spare lacrimation. If the lesion is at the stylomastoid foramen, it may result in facial paralysis only.


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