JOURNAL ARTICLE
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A rare case of Ramsay Hunt syndrome following temporomandibular joint surgery.

Surgical approaches to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) have been designed specifically to minimize injury to the temporal branch of the facial nerve. In spite of this, facial nerve dysfunction occurs in 1-32% of patients undergoing TMJ surgery. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is characterized by peripheral facial paralysis that often involves other cranial nerves, mostly cranial nerve VIII. The pathology is attributed to the reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus in the geniculate ganglion. The diagnosis is based mostly on history and physical findings. Surgical procedures have been known to reactivate varicella zoster virus, but Ramsay Hunt syndrome subsequent to TMJ surgery has not been described yet. This report describes a case of Ramsay Hunt syndrome associated with TMJ surgery. Because of the relatively high incidence of facial nerve dysfunction associated with TMJ surgery, patients with varicella zoster virus reactivation may initially be misdiagnosed with iatrogenic facial palsy, or vice versa.

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