Isolated facial diplegia in Guillain-Barré syndrome: Bifacial weakness with paresthesias

Muscle Nerve. 2015 Dec;52(6):927-32. doi: 10.1002/mus.24887. Epub 2015 Sep 12.


Bifacial weakness with paresthesias (BFP) is a subtype of Guillain-Barré syndrome defined by rapidly progressive bilateral facial weakness in the absence of other cranial neuropathies, ataxia, or limb weakness. Many patients also complain of distal limb paresthesias and display diminished or absent deep tendon reflexes. BFP is a localized form of Guillain-Barré syndrome and is thought to be caused exclusively by demyelinating- rather than axonal-type neuropathy. Patients with BFP do not display anti-ganglioside IgG antibodies. Since it is rare, many physicians are unfamiliar with BFP, as bilateral facial weakness is more commonly associated with sarcoidosis, Lyme disease, or meningeal pathology. Many patients diagnosed with bilateral Bell palsy may instead have BFP. In this review, we highlight the clinical features of BFP and outline diagnostic criteria.

Keywords: Bell palsy; Guillain-Barré syndrome; Miller Fisher syndrome; bifacial weakness; facial diplegia; paraesthesia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Facial Paralysis / complications*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / classification
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Weakness / complications
  • Paresthesia / physiopathology*