Facial nerve palsy due to birth trauma

Alternative Names

Seventh cranial nerve palsy due to birth trauma

Definition of Facial nerve palsy due to birth trauma

Facial nerve palsy due to birth trauma is the loss of controllable (voluntary) muscle movement in an infant’s face due to pressure on the facial nerve just before or at the time of delivery.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The infant’s facial nerve (also called the seventh cranial nerve) can be damaged just before or at the time of delivery.

Symptoms

The most common form of facial nerve palsy due to birth trauma involves only the lower part of the facial nerve. This part controls the muscles around the lips. The muscle weakness is mainly noticeable when the infant cries.

Signs and tests

A physical exam is usually all that is needed to diagnose this condition. Rarely, a nerve conduction study is needed. Such a test can pinpoint the exact location of the nerve injury.

Treatment

In most cases, the infant will be closely monitored to see if the paralysis goes away on its own.

Expectations (prognosis)

The condition usually goes away on its own.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/10/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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