Idiopathic facial paralysis (Bell´s palsy): a study of 180 patients

Marcelo Moraes Valença Luciana Patrízia A. de Andrade Valença Maria Carolina Martins Lima About the authors

The objective of this study was to analyze some clinical and epidemiologic aspects, as well as the follow up of 180 patients with Bell´s palsy. In the study population there was a predominance of female (66.7%). Two peaks of incidence in the age distribution were identified: third-fourth and sixth decades of life. In the group of 180 patients there were 198 events of facial paralysis, 17 recurrences and in one patient the paralysis was bilateral at the onset. In 15 patients (8.3%) there were recurrences of the facial paralysis, in 12 cases (70.6%) the recurrences were ipsilateral. The left side of the face was involved in 55.6% of the cases. In eight patients the paralysis ocurred during pregnancy (n=5) or puerperium (n=3). As associated conditions we found: arterial hypertension (11.7%), diabetes mellitus (11.1%), pregnancy or puerperium (4.4%; 6.7% in the women), and neurocysticercosis (1.1%). In 72.8% of the cases no association with such conditions was found. In 22.8% of the patients some kind of sequelae were identified: hemifacial spasm (12.8%), partial recovery of the motor deficit (10.6%), syndrome of the crocodile tears (3.3%), sincinetic contration (2.8%), and the Marcus Gunn inverse phenomenon (1.1%). In conclusion, this study shows that the idiopathic facial paralysis may lead to important sequelae in more than 20% of the patients.

Bell´s palsy; arterial hypertention; diabetes; pregnancy; recurrences; sequelae

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