Over a 10-year period the diagnosis Bell's palsy was made in 1293 patients. The files of 1235 patients were studied; the relevant data were stored in a computer and analysed. Factors analysed included the source of referral of the patients as well as their age and sex, the time of onset of the paralysis, recurrence, side of the face, and pregnancy. The incidence of hypertension, diabetes and other diseases was evaluated. The fate of the nerve is determined to a large extent in the first week of the disease. The nerve excitability test is a reliable predictor of the final outcome. The system of classification of recovery we have used for many years is compared to the International Facial Nerve grading system. If denervation and poor recovery are to be prevented as far as possible, early examination and treatment of selected patients with prednisone is mandatory. An important factor in recovery is the age of the patient.