Problems with eating and drinking in patients with unilateral peripheral facial paralysis

Dysphagia. 2003 Fall;18(4):267-73. doi: 10.1007/s00455-003-0011-0.


Patients with facial paralysis not only suffer from asymmetry of the face, but also from problems with eating and drinking. To demonstrate that these patients have many problems with activities such as eating and drinking, we examined 17 outpatients with a unilateral peripheral facial paralysis for the presence of problems in these functions. To collect data, all patients completed a questionnaire concerning the problems they had directly following onset of the paralysis and at the moment of this study. In addition, they were examined to determine the severity of the paralysis, the problems with eating and drinking, their experiences regarding impairments and disabilities, and the compensatory behavior. The result of the study is a portrayal of problems and conscious or unconscious compensations. Furthermore, we concluded that the Sunnybrook Facial Grading System score does not predict the number of problems in eating and drinking, the number of compensations, and the emotional impact. Significant correlations are found only between various scores on Visual Analog Scales and the number of compensatory actions. Patients differ in how they experience the extensive problems due to the facial paralysis and in the extent to which they are successful in adaptation. Consulting a speech therapist for treatment of functional problems is a meaningful adjunct to regular therapy. The treatment of deglutition disorders can be best based upon the detailed information of the questionnaire and the examination of eating, drinking, and compensatory behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Facial Paralysis / complications*
  • Facial Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors