Long-term Outcome After Acute Peripheral Facial Palsy

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2022 Jul-Aug;38(4):381-386. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000002134. Epub 2022 Jan 27.


Purpose: To analyze long-term outcomes in a large cohort of patients with acute peripheral facial palsy (APFP).

Methods: Hospital-based, cross-sectional study. Data were abstracted from the electronic medical record. Time to recovery was assessed with Kaplan-Meier survival analyses. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with outcome.

Results: Three hundred seventy-two patients with APFP seen at a tertiary hospital between February 2015 and March 2021 were analyzed. Seasonal variation of APFP peaked in the early fall (September 29) and had a peak-to-low ratio of 1.36 (R 2 = 0.329, p < 0.001). Patients who tested positive for Lyme disease (10%) had an earlier peak (July 16) compared with those who were negative (October 15). Eighty-seven percent of patients had complete recovery (averaging 64 ± 61 days). Patients, with higher House-Brackmann (H-B) grades at presentation took longer to recover, were more likely to have aberrant regeneration and had lower final rates of recovery compared with those with lower H-B grades (χ 2 = 12.03, p < 0.001). Of the patients with residual palsies, 70% had evidence of aberrant regeneration, and nearly half of those had hemifacial spasm.

Conclusions: Most patients with APFP achieve complete recovery within 1 year, including those positive for Lyme. More severe palsy at presentation portends a worse outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Bell Palsy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Facial Paralysis* / diagnosis
  • Hemifacial Spasm*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate