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Background: The facial nerve is an important and complex nerve whose course predisposes to various affectations. Most work has been focused mainly on Bell’s palsy and not much has been done on other aspects of the nerve affectation.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of facial nerve palsy, possible aetiology and the treatment outcome in our environment.
Patients and Methods: This is a retrospective study of all patients diagnosed with facial nerve palsy seen in the ENT Surgery department and the Physiotherapy department of Teaching hospital university of Port Harcourt within the period of January 2015 to January 2018. The patients` case files, clinic and ward registers were the source of data. The patients` demographics, presenting complaints, side affected, type of lesion, aetiology, intervention and outcome, were sought from these records. Data was analyzed with IBM SPSS version 20 and results presented in statistical tables.
Results: There were altogether 76 patients seen within the period under study. There were more females than males 57.9% and 42.1% with a ratio of 1.4:1. Age ranged from 20-83 years with a mean age of 48.9+/- 14.1 years. Highest incidence was among the age range 50-59 years. Commonest presenting complaint was facial weakness-80.3% outright facial deviation was seen in 17.1%. The left side was more affected and upper motor neuron lesion was the commonest type of facial nerve palsy encountered 80.3%. Hypertension was the commonest aetiology. About 69.7% had a good response to management. The outcome of treatment in relation to the type was statistically significant.
Conclusion: Facial nerve paralysis is not rare in this region and hypertension is a common aetiology with UMNL as the commonest type. Majority recover after the paralysis with steroid treatment.
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