In general, decompression surgery for Bell’s palsy, to relieve pressure on the nerve, is controversial and is seldom recommended. On rare occasions, cosmetic or reconstructive surgery may be needed to reduce deformities and correct some damage such as an eyelid that will not fully close or a crooked smile.
What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for individuals with Bell’s palsy is generally very good. The extent of nerve damage determines the extent of recovery. Improvement is gradual and recovery times vary.
With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within two weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and most recover completely, returning to normal function within three to six months. For some, however, the symptoms may last longer. In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear.
For more information, visit www.bellspalsyresearch.com or www.rarediseases.org.
Steve Mullenix (R.Ph) co-owns The Pharmacy in Mount Olive with his wife, Sherry Mullenix (J.D., R.N.). They can be reached at 631-1201.