Trigeminal dysfunction in patients with Bell's palsy

Acta Otolaryngol. Mar-Apr 1986;101(3-4):224-30. doi: 10.3109/00016488609132831.


The trigeminal function was investigated in 30 consecutive patients with acute unilateral peripheral facial palsy. The patients were tested with electrophysiological methods within 5 weeks after onset of the disease. Trigeminus-evoked potential test (TEP) disclosed trigeminal dysfunction in 47%, while the blink reflex test (BR) showed trigeminal pathology in 60% of the patients. A topographical analysis of the trigeminal system showed that 24% of the patients had BR patterns that were consistent with brainstem involvement. In 2 cases (7%), TEP was pathological though the BR test proved normal. These findings suggest a more central trigeminal affection and may demonstrate multifocal lesions. This was further underlined by the investigation of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) which indicated brainstem involvement in 28%. It is concluded that acute facial palsy is frequently a symptom of a central nervous affection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Audiometry, Evoked Response
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Eye Movements
  • Facial Paralysis / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reflex
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiopathology*