Understanding 7th Nerve Palsy

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60 out of 100 thousand people suffer from 7th nerve palsy (facial nerve palsy) annually. This number shows that 7th nerve palsy is a quite common disease. The following article shall provides all the information about this disease. Please stay tuned.

7th nerve palsy - Facial nerve palsy
7th nerve palsy – Facial nerve palsy

What is 7th nerve palsy?

Facial paralysis, facial deviation, and mouth distortion are other names that are also the most visible signs of 7th nerve palsy.

The 7th nerve is the nerve that controls the movements of the facial muscles. Peripheral 7th cranial nerve palsy (peripheral facial palsy) occurs when the VII nerve is damaged or broken, leading to partial or complete loss of movement of a muscle group in a whole or half of the face.

7th nerve palsy not only brings difficulties and inconveniences in life and affects health but also destroys the aesthetics of the patient’s face.

Patient who underwent 7th nerve palsy treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital
The patient who underwent 7th nerve palsy treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital

The signs of peripheral VII nerve palsy

The patient who suffers from this disease can be paralyzed on the right side or on the left side of the face. With the following symptoms:

  • The face is stiff, sagging, mouth twisted to one side. The patient can easily spit food or water out.
  • The eyelids on the side of the face are paralyzed and cannot be closed.
  • The patient has difficulty talking, smiling, and moving the facial muscles.
  • The patient may feel headaches and pain in their ears.
  • Crocodile tears, loss of taste, and increased salivation when eating or talking.
Signs of 7th nerve palsy
Signs of 7th nerve palsy

The causes of 7th nerve palsy

Before distributing to all facial muscle groups, nerve VII has a very complicated path. Therefore, the cause of damaged peripheral nerve VII leading to facial paralysis can originate from different locations including pons, from VII nerve in the cerebellopontine angle, petrous bone, parotid gland.

More specifically, there are 3 groups of causes of peripheral 7th nerve palsy. That is:

  • Cold infection: this is the cause of 80% of the 7th nerve palsy cases, which occurs after a sudden cold or overnight.
  • Physical damage: occurs after a collision, an injury that causes damage to the petrous bone area, or after surgery in the ear mastoid area… 7th nerve paralysis in children can be caused by trauma during birth.
  • Inflammation: caused by viruses, typically Ramsay Hunt syndrome caused by varicella zoster virus.

How to diagnose for 7th nerve palsy

The most common diagnosis for 7th nerve palsy is through clinical symptoms such as facial paralysis, mouth distortion, eyelids cannot close, drooping eyelids, taste disturbances, ear discharge, decreased tear secretions,…

In addition, the doctor will examine some places such as the ear, throat to see if there is a tumor or not and perform a neurological exam to look for damages to the cranial nerves. Besides, the doctor will take cranial magnetic resonance imaging and perform tests such as blood sugar test, blood count, biochemistry …

Who can easily suffer from 7th nerve palsy

Facial palsy caused by cranial nerve VII palsy can occur at any age and gender. But according to research, some cases will have a higher risk including:

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  • People with a weak immune system, weak body.
  • People who are lazy to exercise, rarely do sports.
  • People with a history of cardiovascular diseases.
  • People who often go out late at night, have poor living habits.
  • People who drink often.

Facial paralysis for patient who has suffered from the disease for 3 years

Patient who has suffered from the disease for 3 years has treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital
The patient who has suffered from the disease for 3 years has treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital

The differences between central facial palsy and peripheral facial palsy

Peripheral facial palsy

Peripheral facial palsy is characterized by weakness or complete loss of movement in half of the face. Peripheral facial palsy is caused by palsy of the VII peripheral nerve, which may be accompanied by taste disturbances in the anterior 2/3 of the tongue, impaired hearing, dried eyes, and abnormal corneal reflexes.

Central facial palsy

Central facial paralysis is characterized by weakness in the lower half of the face and difficulty in moving facial muscles, which is accompanied by arm and/or leg weakness.

Is 7th nerve palsy dangerous?

7th nerve palsy may not be life-threatening, but its sequelae are extremely worrisome. These sequelae include:

  • Eye complications: Keratitis, conjunctivitis, drooping eyelids, corneal ulcers.
  • Synergism: This is an involuntary muscle contraction associated with involuntary actions, such as the corners of the mouth being pulled up when the patient closes his or her eyes.
  • Crocodile tears: This is a rather rare sequela, especially when the patients are eating.
  • Hemifacial spasm: This is a sequela that occurs in severe cases of facial paralysis.

The girl who regain the smile after having treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital

Can facial palsy and 7th nerve palsy heal?

When some diseases or injuries appear, after a while they will heal thanks to the body’s self-healing mechanism. Unfortunately, this is not the case with peripheral cranial nerve VII palsy. Patients must look up to some treatments to restore the function of the paralyzed facial muscles.

Is 7th nerve palsy a stroke?

As mentioned above, one of the causes of VII nerve palsy is a sudden cold or trauma to the brain area. Therefore, it is correct to consider 7th cranial nerve palsy as a stroke because it is a common sequela of cerebrovascular accident.

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Liệt dây thần kinh số 7 có chữa khỏi không? Can 7th nerve palsy be cured?

The earlier it is treated, the higher the chance of curing 7th nerve palsy. Patients must be persistent in following the treatment regimen to achieve results.

Usually, for cases of peripheral nerve palsy that are detected early, the doctor will prescribe treatment by taking medicines combined with physical therapy. For long-term cases, the doctor will appoint surgery to treat the disease.

Note: The probability to cure facial paralysis will depend on the cause of the disease, the location and extent of the damage, and the duration of the injury.

The patient believes in Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital for her grandchild has a successful treatment facial palsy

Treatments for 7th nerve palsy

  • Take medicines
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Thread implant
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Depending on the examination for the causes, the doctor shall recommend the most appropriate treatment method.

Treatment regimens for peripheral facial palsy

Internally medical treatment

The patient was prescribed early corticosteroids with a high dose (1 mg prednisolone/kg). In addition, use special anti-viral and anti-inflammatory drugs for cases of viral infections, sensory disturbances in the face, or pain behind the ears.

Physical therapy

Besides medical treatment, it is necessary to combine treatment with physical therapy or electrical stimulation along with rehabilitation exercises for facial muscles in order to quickly recovery for patients.

Surgery

Surgical method is for patients with facial paralysis due to 7th nerve rupture or who have been treated with the above methods for a long time without any signs of progress.

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Prof.Dr. Park Sung Yong – Professional advisor explains facial palsy

Image of our customer before & after 2 months of facial palsy treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital
Image of our customer before & after 2 months of facial palsy treatment at Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital

The price of 7th nerve palsy treatment

Surgical treatment for facial paralysis is a complicated surgery, often indicated for cases where the 7th nerve is severed or patients who have been treated for a long time but have not recovered. The cost for this surgery usually does not have a specific price but will depend on the results of the examination.

How to take care of patients who suffer from peripheral VII nerve palsy

  • Keep the face warm, wash with warm water.
  • Avoid wind, avoid cold.
  • Clean and protect eyes carefully. Use lubricants to prevent eye dryness, artificial tears or physiological saline.
  • Regularly practice rehabilitation exercises such as opening your eyes, smiling, closing your mouth tightly, puffing out your mouth, pronouncing words with sounds: B, P, U, I… along with regular massage facial acupoint.
  • Preserve oral hygiene.
  • The patient’s family should actively encourage the patient to believe in and persevere in treatment.

How to prevent recurrence of 7th nerve palsy

  • Keep your body warm, limit going out when it suddenly becomes cold. If you have to go out, cover your face carefully.
  • When traveling by train, the door must be closed to avoid the wind blowing in the face.
  • Limit lying in the air conditioner or direct the fan to blow directly to the face when sleeping.
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthily to improve health.
  • Routine physical examination to detect diseases that can cause VII nerve palsy.
  • Have early treatment for otolaryngology to avoid complications spreading to the temporal region, affecting the VII nerve.

Which food should we eat and avoid eating?

Which food should the patient eat?

  • Eat more dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, etc.
  • Eat garlic because garlic contains many natural anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants that help prevent nerve damage.
  • Fruits for supplementing essential vitamins and minerals for health.
  • Eat nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc., because they are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats that help protect nerves.
  • Regularly drink green tea.

Which food should the patient avoid eating?

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages, carbonated soft drinks, stimulants, addictive substances.
  • Do not eat foods that contain a lot of fat and harmful fats.
  • Avoid eating refined grains.
  • Limit eating foods such as chicken, pork ribs, soybeans, dairy products, chocolate because they contain a lot of arginine acid – the agent that makes the 7th nerve weaken.

This is all the information about the peripheral 7th nerve palsy or also known as peripheral facial palsy. We hope they are useful for you.

Nowadays, Gangwhoo Cosmetic Hospital is considered the top cosmetic facility for facial palsy treatment in HCM City. If you have any further questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or contact our Hotline: 0901 666 879 for the most thoughtful advice and guidance.

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