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Postgrad Med. 1991 Aug;90(2):115-8, 121-2, 125-7.

Bell's palsy. A diagnosis of exclusion.

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  • 1Eye and Ear Institute of Pittsburgh, PA 15213.


In cases of acute unilateral facial weakness, a careful and systematic evaluation is necessary to identify the cause. Idiopathic facial paralysis (Bell's palsy) is a diagnosis of exclusion. It is also the most common cause of unilateral facial weakness seen by primary care physicians. The most important aspect of initial treatment is eye protection. Administration of systemic oral corticosteroids may lessen severity and duration of symptoms.

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