Disorders of the Facial Nerve and Skull Base

Also known as: Facial nerve disorders, cranial base disorders, skull base and facial nerve conditions, Bell’s palsy, traumatic facial nerve paralysis

What are disorders of the facial nerve and skull base?

The Facial nerve (the seventh cranial nerve or cranial nerve V1), emerges from the brainstem through the side of the skull to control the muscles of the face (predominantly), and to transmit taste sensations from the tongue and mouth. All disorders are categorized by unusual movement, weakness or paralysis of all or part of the face.

What causes disorders of the facial nerve and skull base?

Common facial nerve disorders include; Bell’s palsy, Lyme disease, stroke, parotid/ear/skull base tumors, trauma to the nerve, viral infections, and congenital anomalies.  

What are the symptoms of disorders of the facial nerve and skull base? 

Facial nerve disorders can cause weakness, or no movement on one or both sides of the face. Facial expressions are lost and one or both sides of the face may have a “locked” in position with no expression at all. Other times, unusual twitching or other movements of the face occur. There may also be difficulty with eating, drinking, speaking clearly, blinking and/or closing an eye. When a tumor is present in, or invades the nerve these symptoms may also be accompanied by a mass (lump) being present, numbness, pain and/or other symptoms.

What are disorders of the facial nerve and skull base care options?

Treatment/s depend on the underlying cause and may involve medications and/or surgery. 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: June 21, 2019 02:20 AM

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