What is the incidence of Bell palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis) (IFP) in the US?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Danette C Taylor, DO, MS, FACN; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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In the United States, the annual incidence of Bell palsy is approximately 23 cases per 100,000 persons. [7] Very few cases are observed during the summer months. Internationally, the highest incidence was found in a study in Seckori, Japan, in 1986, and the lowest incidence was found in Sweden in 1971. Most population studies generally show an annual incidence of 15-30 cases per 100,000 population.

Bell palsy is thought to account for approximately 60-75% of cases of acute unilateral facial paralysis, with the right side affected 63% of the time. It can also be recurrent, with a reported recurrence range of 4-14%. [20]

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