Causes and Diagnoses

Facial Palsy At Birth

Facial nerve development may be affected in the womb or the nerve may be damaged during childbirth.

Bell's Palsy

The name ‘Bell’s palsy’ comes from 19th-century Scottish anatomist and surgeon Sir Charles Bell, who discovered that severing the seventh cranial (or facial) nerve causes facial paralysis.


A tumour is a lump or swelling. Tumours are not necessarily cancerous. Tumours near or on the facial nerve can cause facial paralysis.

Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions affect the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle.


Trauma to the facial nerve can happen due to accidents, assaults, falls and during childbirth. This can cause temporary or permanent facial palsy.


Infections affecting the facial nerve directly can cause facial paralysis. These are the most common causes from infection.


Facial palsy is often associated with stroke. Facial palsy in stroke cases is a result of damage to the facial nerve inside the brain. Facial palsy in non-stroke cases is a result of damage to the lower part of the facial nerve. Both need urgent medical treatment.


Listed here are causes that don't fit other categories. There are more than 50 different causes of facial palsy. Refer to the full list of causes below for more details.