Bell’s palsy

Also known as: idiopathic facial palsy


At The London Clinic we provide a private bell’s palsy treatment service. One of our world renowned neurologists will see you at our state-of-the-art neurosciences centre near Harley Street. Why wait? Start your treatment journey today.

What is Bell’s palsy?

At The London Clinic we offer the latest treatment for Bell’s palsy, a neurological condition that affects the facial nerve, causing weakness or paralysis down one side of the face.

Bell’s palsy is normally temporary and most people fully recover after several weeks or months.

You may develop Bell’s palsy after a viral infection which causes the facial nerve to swell.

The facial nerve directs the muscles that control blinking and the production of saliva and tears.

Viruses that can cause Bell’s palsy include:

  • Herpes simplex (cold sore virus)
  • Varicella-zoster (chicken pox virus)
  • Influenza

Other causes for Bell’s palsy include:

  • Impaired immunity from stress
  • Not sleeping well
  • Facial fractures
  • Autoimmune syndromes
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Genetic factors

During your visit to our neurosciences centre, one of our highly experienced neurologists will examine you and prescribe a treatment. This may include medication and physical therapy to speed up your recovery.

By choosing The London Clinic, you’ll get a more compassionate and connected kind of care, from enhanced pre-admission through to aftercare and follow up.

Contact us today, so you can start your treatment journey and get back to living life.

What are the symptoms of Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy is a rare condition that can affect anyone at any age and there are a wide range of symptoms that can vary from person to person.

Symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:

  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of your face
  • Inability to close your eye on the affected side, causing eye dryness
  • Difficulty to smile or raise an eyebrow
  • Drooling
  • Drooping mouth
  • A dull ache behind the ear
  • Watery eyes
  • Altered taste
  • Intolerance to loud noise

The symptoms of Bell’s palsy usually take a few hours to develop and can last between two weeks to several months. Most people make a full recovery after a few weeks.

How is bell’s palsy diagnosed?

Bell’s palsy is different from a stroke because a stroke usually involves paralysis down one side of the face and body.

There’s no specific laboratory test to diagnose Bell’s palsy. Your neurologist will make a diagnosis based on your presenting symptoms and they will examine you for upper and lower facial weakness.

Doing a scan and taking a picture of the area can sometimes help to confirm a diagnosis of Bell’s palsy. It can rule out other diseases that cause facial weakness, including a stroke.

Your neurologist may ask you to have an electromyography (EMG) test to confirm the presence of any nerve damage.

They may offer you a CT or MRI scan to rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as compression on the facial nerve from an enlarged artery.

How is bell’s palsy treated at The London Clinic?

Depending on the extent of your Bell’s palsy, your treatment can include:

  • Steroid tablets such as prednisolone to reduce swelling around the facial nerve
  • Anti-viral tablets such as aciclovir (acyclovir) or valaciclovir (valacyclovir) which help get rid of the viral infection
  • Pain relieving medicines such as paracetamol
  • Lubricating eye drops, ointments and eye patches to protect the eye
  • Physical therapy
  • Alternative treatments such as acupuncture
  • Decompression surgery (though this is rare)

If you’ve recently developed Bell’s palsy steroids can help you recover quickly.

At The London Clinic we also provide physical therapy, acupuncture and massage which some people with Bell’s palsy find helpful.

In a very small number of cases decompression surgery, to release pressure on the facial nerve, may be beneficial.

Your neurologist will discuss your treatment options with you during your consultation.

How long does it take to recover from bell’s palsy?

In 85% of cases Bell's palsy symptoms fade naturally within three weeks and most people recover their full facial function within nine months.

The right treatment can speed up recovery and reduce any risk of long-term nerve damage.

You may be at a slightly higher risk of developing long term problems if:

  • You are over 60
  • You have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • You’re pregnant
  • You’ve had a long period of symptoms that have lasted several weeks.
  • At The London Clinic your care team will always work as one to make sure you get the best treatment possible.

What will my bell’s palsy treatment at The London Clinic involve?

At The London Clinic we specialise in neurological conditions and the treatment of Bell’s palsy. One of our highly skilled neurologists will assess your symptoms to confirm you have Bell’s palsy and treat you with the latest medications and physical therapy. Your consultation will take place at our state of the art neurosciences centre near Harley Street.

Your neurologist will ensure you get the best care possible so you can recover effectively.

At The London Clinic we offer complementary therapies such as acupuncture and physical therapy, to support you during your treatment.

Once at home we will keep in contact with you to make sure you’re recovering smoothly.


Get in touch

Speak to someone today, we're ready for your enquiry. Book an appointment or ask for advice.