Justin Bieber Reveals Facial Paralysis, Calls It ‘Serious’ Condition

In an Instagram video, Bieber said the condition has fully paralyzed the right side of his face. “As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face. So there’s full paralysis on this side of my face,” he said.

“It’s pretty serious, I wish this wasn’t the case but obviously, my body’s telling me I gotta slow down,” he said.

What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is neurological disease in which a virus – Varicella zoster – causes inflammation of the nerves involved in facial movements.


When the nerves get inflamed they lose their ability to function, leading to temporary facial palsy or paralysis. What it means is that facial muscles in the infected person cannot receive necessary signals to function properly.

“Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is the viral infection impacting the 7th cranial nerve that is involved in facial movements. The inflammation caused by the Varicella zoster virus makes the nerve ineffective,” says Dr. (Col.) JD Mukherji, principal director and head of Neurology, Max Healthcare at Saket, Delhi.

Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

The symptoms include painful, red rash and blisters in and around the ear and facial paralysis on the same side. Patients also report hearing loss in the ear that has been impacted apart from Tinnitus or ringing sounds. Inability to close the eye causes dryness.

“You can get a rash on the eardrum, the ear canal and the earlobe. Rashes can also appear inside the mouth, on the tongue. There is hearing loss, vertigo or spinning sensation. It causes weakness of one side of the face and causes difficulty in closing one eye and eating as food falls off from the affected side. There is drooping of the face,” said Dr. Mukherji.

The Varicella zoster virus (VZV) also causes chickenpox and shingles. According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, this virus belongs to the Herpes virus group and can stay in the body as a latent infection.

The virus can stay dormant in a person’s body and can reawaken to attack the nerves. According to doctors, VZV can get reactivated due to weakening of the immune system. Stress is also considered a trigger, according to some studies, as it depresses the immune system. Some reports also suggest that T-cell dysfunction caused by coronavirus infection can reactivate VZV.

“It is from this virus that attacks on the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis,” the Canada-born singer said in the three-minute video, indicating the right side of his face.

Treatment and Recovery

Ramsay hunt syndrome is treated using anti-viral drugs, steroids and physiotherapy. “Steroids and anti-viral drugs are the cornerstone of the treatment,” says Dr. Mukherji.

“Facial exercises are very important. Patients need to protect their eyes. When one eye doesn’t close, there is a chance of developing corneal aberration. Patients must use tear drops and use eye protection. They should wear glasses when they go out, and tape the eye that has been impacted when they sleep at night,” he adds.

The disease is not contagious but can lead to chickenpox in those not vaccinated for the disease. Till the blister scabs fall off, the patients are advised to avoid contact with those with low immunity and the ones who have not had chickenpox or are not vaccinated against it.

The disease is reversible. Patients get cured within 15 days to three months of starting the treatment.

“The take-home message is that it can be cured. Near-complete resolution happens. Even the hearing loss is reversible. Little bit of residual facial palsy may remain. There may be just a little bit of lag in the closure of the eye later on. That’s very minor,” Dr. Mukherji pointed out.

Source: Medindia

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