RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Recurrent Bell's palsy: analysis of 140 patients.
Of 1,700 patients with facial paralysis seen in a retrospective study from 1969 through 1977 and 280 patients seen prospectively from 1983 through 1986, 7.1% had recurrence of Bell's palsy. In this group, the frequency of ipsilateral recurrence was equal to that for contralateral recurrence. The mean age at onset of Bell's palsy was 33.0 years; Bell's palsy recurred a mean of 9.8 years later. Recurrent facial paralysis did not indicate a worse prognosis for recovery regardless of which side was affected. There was no statistical difference between results for male patients or female patients, nor was there a statistically significant sex predominance, except in the age group 10 to 19 years. In our results, computed tomography (CT) scan in patients with recurrent Bell's palsy detected no facial-nerve neuroma. Of 77 patients followed a mean of 33 years after the first episode (range, 2.8 to 60 years), none showed progressive facial-nerve dysfunction or any signs of tumor. We conclude that an ipsilateral recurrence of facial paralysis without documented evidence of a tumor does not warrant a transmastoid decompression of the facial nerve. The results of our analysis were verified prospectively as well as retrospectively. A new classification system is introduced for ease of computer analysis and for simplified discussion of recurrent facial paralysis.
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