What Is Facial Diplegia?
Facial Diplegia is a pathological condition characterized by paralysis of both sides of the face. In Facial Diplegia, one side of the face gets paralyzed first and then within a few days time the other side of the face also gets paralyzed. There have been a few cases of Facial Diplegia where both sides of the face have been paralyzed together.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome is believed to the main cause behind Facial Diplegia. Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy is yet another common cause for the development of Facial Diplegia in which facial weakness is the primary presenting feature of this condition.
Facial Diplegia can come on out of the blue or can have a gradual onset. Whether the condition will last for a long period of time or will disappear quickly depends on the underlying cause of Facial Diplegia.
What Causes Facial Diplegia?
As stated above, the main cause of facial Diplegia is believed to be a medical condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the healthy tissues of the body resulting in weakness and tingling in the extremities. As the disease condition worsens, there is development of Facial Diplegia.
Other than this, Facial Diplegia can also be caused due to infectious causes, trauma to the brain or spinal cord where the brain and spinal cord are not able to interpret the signals from the facial nerves resulting in Facial Diplegia.
There are also certain toxins which can result in the development of Facial Diplegia, although Facial Diplegia caused due to toxins is temporary in nature and goes way once the toxin is flushed out from the body. Lyme Disease is yet another common infectious cause of Facial Diplegia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Facial Diplegia?
The primary presenting feature of Facial Diplegia is the development of weakness and paralysis on one side of the face. The other side of the face normally gets involved within a couple of weeks’ time. This results in the inability to close the eyes completely.
There is also decreased ability to move the lips and mouth making talking and eating also difficult for the affected individual. There is also significant reduction in tear production in individuals with Facial Diplegia predisposing the individual to corneal ulcers.
Ability to drink liquids is yet another problem that individuals with Facial Diplegia face due to the lips not closing completely making the liquid drip from the sides of the mouth.
How Is Facial Diplegia Diagnosed?
Once an individual presents with the symptoms mentioned above, a diagnosis of Facial Diplegia is suspected, although the treating physician will order certain confirmatory tests in the form of advanced imaging like MRI and CT scans to rule out other conditions like tumors that may be causing the symptoms.
Once Facial Diplegia is suspected the tests are conducted to identify the cause of the condition and blood testing is done to rule out Lyme Disease which is one of the primary infectious causes of Facial Diplegia.
A lumbar puncture with CSF testing will also be done to rule out any trauma or injury to the spinal cord or the brain. The results of these testing will confirm the diagnosis of Facial Diplegia.
How Is Facial Diplegia Treated?
The treatment of Facial Diplegia is dependent on the underlying cause of the condition. Infectious and toxic causes are perfectly treatable and once the causes are treated then the symptoms of Facial Diplegia tend to resolve on their own.
In case if a spinal cord injury or an abnormality in the brain is the cause of the condition then treating it becomes a challenge and the affected individual is more or less affected permanently by Facial Diplegia.