Bell's palsy in children

Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Dec;10(4):289-97. doi: 10.1016/s1071-9091(03)00077-9.


Bell's palsy is a self-limiting idiopathic rapid onset facial palsy that is non-life-threatening and has a generally favorable prognosis. Facial paralysis can be caused by numerous conditions, all of which should be excluded before a diagnosis of Bell's palsy is reached. The etiopathogenesis of Bell's palsy is uncertain; acute immune demyelination triggered by a viral infection may be responsible. Controversy exists regarding treatment options. This article reviews the differential diagnosis and diagnostic and therapeutic options and discusses the controversies related to the various treatment modalities (steroids, acyclovir, and surgery). A simple practical approach to diagnosing and treating children with Bell's palsy is suggested.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bell Palsy* / epidemiology
  • Bell Palsy* / pathology
  • Bell Palsy* / physiopathology
  • Bell Palsy* / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dementia, Vascular
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Facial Nerve / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Prognosis