What is the treatment for Bell’s palsy?
The treatment for Bell’s palsy is usually steroids, that treatment works if given in the first few days, we normally say in the first 72 hours. The dose of steroids will vary depending on the body weight; usually a course of 7-10 days is given. Steroids are not for everybody, there may be medical reasons why steroids are not given if the patient for example has diabetes, mental health issues, high blood pressure; it may be thought it’s not worth the risk of giving steroids. If you suspect that the palsy may be secondary to a virus, such as the Varicella zoster virus (VZV) or the virus that causes Shingles, then anti-viral agents are given, drugs like Aciclovir are given in addition, but these are not needed for most cases of facial palsy. There are a small number of patients, for whom there is persistent facial weakness; these may be older patients, patients who are diabetic or patients who have very, very severe facial palsy with very little movement in the start of their condition. In those cases surgery may be considered, but before surgery, other strategies may be tried; facial physiotherapy, botulinum toxin injections and surgery very much is for the minority of patients and the vast majority don’t require that.