Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in Bell's palsy

Laryngoscope. 1990 Dec;100(12):1264-9. doi: 10.1288/00005537-199012000-00003.


Inflammation of the facial nerve in Bell's palsy can be demonstrated on gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. We have studied a series of 17 Bell's palsy patients with gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, and the purpose of this paper is to report our findings and discuss their significance. Most acute Bell's palsy cases demonstrate facial nerve enhancement, usually in the distal internal auditory canal and labyrinthine/geniculate segments. Other segments demonstrate enhancement less often. Gadolinium enhancement occurs regardless of the severity of the paralysis and can persist after clinical improvement of the paralysis. The findings of this study corroborate other evidence that the segments of the facial nerve most often involved in Bell's palsy are the only segments that are most often enhanced with gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. The role of gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in the management of Bell's palsy patients is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Facial Nerve / pathology
  • Facial Nerve / physiopathology
  • Facial Paralysis / diagnosis*
  • Facial Paralysis / pathology
  • Facial Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organometallic Compounds*
  • Pentetic Acid*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium DTPA