What should be considered in the differential diagnosis of 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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In most cases, the diagnosis of Bell palsy is straightforward as long as the patient has undergone a thorough history and physical examination. Failure to recognize structural, infectious, or vascular lesions leading to seventh cranial (facial) nerve damage may result in further deterioration of the patient’s condition. For example, if other cranial nerve, motor, or sensory symptoms are present, then other neurologic diseases should be considered (eg, stroke, Guillain-Barré syndrome, basilar meningitis, cerebellar pontine angle tumor).

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