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Ameet Goyal, Shivani Goyal; The Use of Nerve Stimulators for Patients with Bell's Palsy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):750.
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The purpose of this study is to evaluate a better treatment option for patients that develop Bell's Palsy. If patients do not have resolution of this palsy, they can develop chronic dry eye, ulceration of the cornea, and deterioration of their vision. Treatment options for these patients includes surgical procedures to close the eye. This can be very disfiguring and cosmetically unacceptable to the patient. In a clinical setting and in vivo nerve stimulation has proven to regenerate peripheral nerves in stroke victims. This study sets out to help patient with this devastating disease.
Ten patients had the nerve stimulator placed on the area of the seventh nerve involved with the Bell's Palsy. These patients varied in age group from 44 to 85. All of these patients were referred to our practice after standard treatments were exhausted with no improvement in their condition. These patients did not wish to have surgery either due to poor health or felt the procedure was not cosmetically acceptable. The Empi PIV nerve stimulator unit was used to stimulate the area of the Seventh Nerve Palsy that was affected by the Bell's palsy. The patients were placed in different groups depending on both the severity of their bell's palsy and the amount of nerve stimulation used to treat the area of bell's palsy. The patients were treated for a time span of 3 months to six month period.
The patients were analyzed from 6 months to 2 years from the onset of the bell's palsy. The 3 patients who had bell's palsy for 2 years had no affect from the treatment. Four patients who had bell's palsy for at least 1 year, clinically demonstrated some mild form of lower lid closure. The remaining 5 patients did show a clinical improvement in the bell's palsy. The clinical improvement was based on amount of keratitis and improvement in vision.
This study looks at a new approach to treatment for bell's palsy based on the current technology to treat stroke victims. There is a significant amount of research on regeneration of the peripheral nerves with various nerve stimulators. Some studies have looked at electrical impulses generating or proliferating axonal growth. Our study indicates that there may be a role for early intervention with nerve stimulation to aid patients with Bell's palsy.
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