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The precise incidence of Bell's palsy is not known.

  • Bell's palsy accounts for almost three quarters of all acute facial palsies, with the highest incidence in the 15 to 45 year old age group (1)
  • The reported incidence is 23-32 cases per 100,000 per year (1) with men and women equally affected. (1)
  • It occurs more commonly in patients with diabetes and in pregnant women (2)
  • a general practitioner expects to see one case every 2 - 3 years

Recurrence is relatively common. (3)


1. Peitersen E. Bell palsy: the spontaneous course of 2,500 peripheral facial nerve palsies of different aetiologies. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 2002;(549):4-30.

2. Evangelista V, Gooding MS, Pereira L. Bell's palsy in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2019 Nov;74(11):674-8.

3. Dong SH, Jung AR, Jung J, et al. Recurrent Bell's palsy. Clin Otolaryngol. 2019 May;44(3):305-12.

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