Background: Extratemporal processes are rare causes of peripheral facial palsy. Only 17 cases of facial palsy in association with a suppurative or necrotic parotitis are reported in the literature.
Patient and results: We present a case of a peripheral facial palsy initiated by an infection of a epidermoid cyst, which consecutively involved the whole parotid gland. After abscess drainage and antibiotic therapy the inflammation process receded. The palsy persisted over a period of 4 weeks but improved completely.
Conclusions: As the facial nerve was not enclosed by the abscess formation the palsy must have been caused indirectly. It may be assumed the inflammation spread into the Fallopian canal through the stylomastoid foramen and caused a metabolic imbalance similar to the supposed vicious circle for Bell's palsy. Due to the relapse tendency of inflammations of epidermoid cysts it is recommended to remove the entire cyst.