Do I Have Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a complex condition. As such, comprehensive testing is required before an individual receives a Bell’s palsy diagnosis.
There are several different types of Bell’s palsy testing. These include:
- Ear, Nose and Throat Evaluation: Used to test for an inner ear infection or a head or neck tumor or malignancy. Also, an ear, nose and throat evaluation helps a person identify and address dizziness associated with Bell’s palsy.
- Neurologic Assessment: Used to test an individual’s movement, reflexes, cranial nerves and level of consciousness.
- Hearing Test: Used to identify hearing damage or inner ear problems.
- Vestibular Test: Used to assess a person’s nerve balance.
- Tearing Test: Used to evaluate the tearing function.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: Used to identify tumors or trauma on the neck and temporal bone.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Used to evaluate acoustic neuroma and other types of tumors in the internal auditory canal and brain.
- Electrophysiologic Test: Used to study the electrical flow to the heart. Additionally, an electromyography (EMG) or electroneurography (ENoG) may be performed in patients with severe cases of facial paralysis who are believed to have Bell’s palsy.
If a person experiences sudden facial paralysis, he or she should go to an emergency room for a complete evaluation. Next, testing is used to identify any tumors, trauma or other causes of facial paralysis. If all other causes of facial paralysis are ruled out, a patient then receives a Bell’s palsy diagnosis.
After a patient receives a Bell’s palsy diagnosis, high-dose steroids (prednisone) and antiviral medications (Famvir or Valtrex) may be used for immediate treatment. Or, if a patient is pregnant and displays Bell’s palsy symptoms, she should consult with her OB/GYN. And if a patient shows signs of complete facial paralysis, additional tests and treatments may be needed.
In most cases, Bell’s palsy disappears on its own. If Bell’s palsy symptoms linger for eight months or longer, however, an individual should schedule a consultation with Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of The Facial Paralysis Institute. That way, an individual can receive extensive Bell’s palsy testing. And if a person receives a Bell’s palsy diagnosis, Dr. Azizzadeh can help this individual develop a personalized treatment plan.
Dr. Azizzadeh understands the ideal Bell’s palsy treatment varies based on time and presentation. He offers many Bell’s palsy treatment options, such as:
- Selective Neurolysis
Selective neurolysis is used to correct abnormal regeneration of the facial nerve. During a selective neurolysis procedure, Dr. Azizzadeh maps out the facial nerves via intraoperative EMG. He next decreases the activity of the facial nerves that hinder the smile mechanism. Dr. Azizzadeh then releases the platysma muscle that pulls the corner of the mouth down. This enables Dr. Azizzadeh to help a Bell’s palsy patient correct any “mis-wiring” of the facial nerve that otherwise makes it tough for this individual to smile, frown or make other facial expressions.
Dr. Azizzadeh performs selective neurolysis surgery at an outpatient surgery center. The procedure has minimal downtime and risks in comparison to other facial nerve procedures, and treatment results often become visible within one day of surgery.
Botox injections are safe, effective and proven Bell’s palsy treatments. They temporarily relax hyperactive facial muscles, resulting in improved facial symmetry and an enhanced facial appearance.
Dr. Azizzadeh performs an in-depth patient evaluation to help an individual determine which Bell’s palsy treatment option will work best. In addition to Bell’s palsy testing, Dr. Azizzadeh learns about a patient’s medical history and his or her treatment goals. He offers a custom treatment plan for each Bell’s palsy patient. With this approach, Dr. Azizzadeh helps Bell’s palsy patients overcome facial paralysis.
Following an initial Bell’s palsy treatment, Dr. Azizzadeh recommends regular follow-up appointments to ensure optimal results. He also may recommend a Bell’s palsy patient use eye protection if he or she struggles to close the eyes completely (lagophthalmos).
To date, Dr. Azizzadeh has helped many Bell’s palsy patients address their facial paralysis symptoms. He is a double-board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is happy to assist Bell’s palsy patients who are not experiencing any or full facial movement at least eight months after the onset of facial paralysis. To find out more, please contact us today at (310) 657-2203 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh.
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