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Managing Bell's palsy

Abstract

Each year in the UK, around 1 in 5,000 people develop Bell's palsy – a unilateral lower motor neurone facial weakness of rapid onset that can be physically and psychologically disabling.1 While around 71% of patients recover normal function of the facial muscles without treatment, 13% are left with slight weakness and 16% with moderate to severe weakness resulting in major facial dysfunction.2,3 People who recover usually do so quickly, with 85% of them reporting some improvement in the first 3 weeks.2 There is longstanding controversy about what, if any, treatment should be initiated for Bell's palsy. Here we discuss the management of patients with this condition.

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